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Russia says still waiting for Kabul to respond to Taliban talks invitation

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By Reuters

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Afghan government has not yet responded to Russia’s invitation to take part in peace talks on Afghanistan that will include the Taliban, the TASS news agency quoted Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as saying on Thursday.

Russia has invited 12 countries, including the United States, to international peace talks in Moscow on Sept. 4 as it has been taking on a more prominent role on Afghanistan.

The United States has declined Russia’s invitation, while an Afghan foreign ministry official said on Wednesday that Kabul would not take part, adding that the government would hold direct talks with the Taliban without the involvement of foreign powers.

However, TASS cited Zakharova as saying on Thursday that Moscow was still finalising the list of participants in the talks and had not received an official answer from Kabul.

(Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Andrew Osborn)