WASHINGTON: Taliban negotiators have begun meeting with US officials in Qatar, where they are discussing preliminary trust-building measures aimed at ending the war in Afghanistan, The New York Times reported Sunday.
Citing several former Taliban officials, the newspaper said these measures included a possible prisoner transfer.
The Afghan government is expecting a delegation from the Qatar government to visit Kabul to explain its role in the talks, said High Peace Council secretary Aminundin Muzaffari.
The former officials said that four to eight Taliban representatives had traveled to Qatar from Pakistan to set up a political office for the exiled Afghan insurgent group, the report said.
The comments suggested that the Taliban, who have not publicly said they would engage in peace talks to end the war in Afghanistan, were gearing up for preliminary discussions, the paper said.
US officials would not deny that meetings had taken place, and the discussions seemed to have at least the tacit approval of Pakistan, which has thwarted previous efforts by the Taliban to engage in talks, The Times noted.