KABUL, Afghanistan

The Afghan president landed in Doha, Qatar, on Monday where crucial intra-Afghan talks between the Kabul government representatives and the Taliban are underway, an official confirmed.

The president’s spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said in a series of tweets that President Ashraf Ghani first visited Kuwait to pay homage to the late emir Sheikh al-Ahmad al-Jaber Al-Sabah

“We highly appreciate your coming personally and be with us in our sad days, and hope to have you in our happy days too,” he quoted the prime minister of Kuwait as saying.

Later in the day, the Afghan leader would visit Doha where he is set to meet Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, emir of Qatar; Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdul Aziz al-Thani, the prime minister of Qatar, and a number of other senior officials to discuss the Afghanistan-Qatar bilateral relations and mutual cooperation in various areas. 

Dawa Khan Meenapal, another spokesman of the Afghan leader, told Anadolu Agency on Monday no meeting is scheduled between Ghani and the Taliban leaders based in Doha.

“The President would only meet peace delegates representing the Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,” he said.

According to the official statement, during the visit, Ghani is also scheduled to address a gathering of Qatar’s prominent diplomats, academics and students at Doha Institute.

Stalemate in intra-Afghan talks 

Ghani’s visit comes as representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban continue to engage in agenda-setting talks for the landmark intra-Afghan talks in Doha since Sept. 12. 

According to the local Salam Afghanistan radio, the two negotiating teams are faced with a deadlock in talks, and a number of foreign mediators are trying to end the stalemate.

Mohammad Naeem, the Taliban’s Qatar office spokesman, has confirmed Germany’s special envoy for Afghanistan Potzel Markus held a meeting with the group’s leadership on Sunday.

“This afternoon, a meeting took place in Doha between the head of the European Section of the Political Bureau of the Islamic Emirate (Taliban), Mullah Abdul Haq Wasiq, and his accompanying delegation; and the Special Representative of Germany for Afghanistan, Potzel Markus, and his accompanying delegation. 

“Both sides discussed in detail the issues of the intra-Afghan talks and the current situation in the country [Afghanistan],” he tweeted in Pashto, Dari and Arabic languages.

Last week, the US special representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad also met with the Taliban leadership in Doha.

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