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Taliban leaders without clout taking part in Kabul talks

By Nairita Das

Washington, Oct. 23 (ANI): Western and Afghan officials have said that the ongoing "peace council" talks in Kabul may not emerge with the desired results because it is being hamstrung by a lack of participants who wield clout within the Taliban.

"It is not clear that many of these [Taliban representatives] have the power to deliver," the Washington Post quoted a Western official, as saying.

Matt Waldman, an independent analyst who has interviewed Taliban commanders in Afghanistan in recent months, said: "There is evidence that there are divisions within the movement and that some of those leaders may not have the influence that they once did."

Taliban leaders publicly have said they will not take part in any talks until foreign forces leave Afghanistan.

Participants in the reconciliation process must meet three criteria: They must give up their weapons, cut ties to al Qaeda and abide by the Afghan Constitution.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has established a High Peace Council to conduct the process.

However, six of the council's 68 members are former jihadist leaders. (ANI)

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