Taliban meeting US representatives in UAE on Monday

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The Taliban plan to meet Monday with officials from the U.S. in the United Arab Emirates as the two sides continue to negotiate a possible end to the war in Afghanistan.

The Associated Press reported that the talks will also involve representatives from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. A Taliban spokesman did not provide further details to the AP.

{mosads}Afghan officials are not expected to attend the meeting, the AP reported. The Taliban has thus far refused to directly engage in talks with the government there, instead insisting on speaking with U.S. officials.

The AP reported that the attendance on Monday of Saudi and Emirati representatives could be key, as both sides hold influence over the Taliban and could push them to speak with Afghan officials down the road.

The Trump administration has in recent months shifted its strategy in Afghanistan in hopes of bringing an end to the 17-year war.

In an interview last month with The Washington Post, Trump expressed frustration with the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan and floated the idea of removing troops from the Middle East.

Roughly 14,000 U.S. service members are based in Afghanistan, mainly to assist Afghan security forces against the Taliban and militants aligned with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Fifteen U.S. service members have died in Afghanistan this year.

Tags Afghanistan Middle East Pakistan Saudi Arabia Taliban UAE
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