The US and Russia have agreed to discuss options to abandon the travel ban on Taliban leaders, to allow their negotiators to participate in talks to end the war in Afghanistan, Reuters reported on Saturday, February 23rd.
US special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who is leading the peace talks with the Taliban, discussed the issue of lifting the travel ban for Taliban leaders with his Russian counterpart Zamir Kabulov, in Ankara on Friday February 22nd.
Lifting the travel ban imposed over Taliban leaders by the United Nations, has been one of the key demands of the movement that started negotiations with US officials in 2018, to end the 17-year-old war.
Khalilzad wrote on Twitter: "Amb (Ambassador) Kabulov and I also discussed travel barriers to talks. We will explore options for securing UN travel waivers for Taliban negotiators to participate in peace talks."
Lifting the travel ban on some Taliban leaders could help accelerate the pace of ongoing negotiations, according to US officials familiar with the talks.
The announcement comes ahead of a fresh round of peace talks scheduled on Monday, February 25th.