US-Taliban Covert Peace Talks Break Down Over Leaks

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Covert exploratory peace negotiations between the Taliban leadership and the US have collapsed after their details were leaked, according to Western diplomats. Absolute confidentiality was a major condition for the talks held earlier this year in Qatar and Germany between Tayyab Agha, former private secretary of Taliban chief Mullah Omar, and top officials from the CIA and US State Department. The consultations were chaired by Germany’s special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Michael Steiner. Many believe that the identity of the Taliban’s negotiator and details of the talks were intentionally leaked by some “paranoid” Afghan officials.

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