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Taliban stays mum on Kabul’s offer for talks, says Afghan presidential adviser

The president's adviser hopes that the response will be given soon

SOCHI, April 25. /TASS/. The Afghan government has not received a response from the Taliban movement (outlawed in Russia) on a proposal to launch a direct dialogue, but expects to get its backing, the president’s adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar told TASS on Wednesday.

"We have not yet received the answer, but expect that it will be positive," he said. "We hope that the response will be given soon," Atmar added.

When asked if the talks may be held in the framework of the Moscow consultations on Afghanistan, he stressed that "the choice of a venue is a secondary matter."

In late February, Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani in his statement at the opening of the second international conference, the Kabul Process, called for a dialogue with the Taliban, proposing talks without any preconditions. Also, he declared readiness to recognize the Taliban as a legitimate political force and to open its official mission in Kabul.

Addressing the international conference on Afghanistan in Uzbekistan’s capital of Tashkent in late March, Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani voiced hope that direct talks with the Taliban would start soon.