The Taliban have denied reports they had held talks with Afghan officials in Qatar. Many experts also believe it’s unlikely that the insurgents could have resumed peace negotiations given their recent territorial gains. On Wednesday, October 19, the Afghan Taliban denied reports of secret peace talks with Afghan government officials in Qatar, stressing that the group’s “stance about peace negotiations has not changed.”
The Guardian reported about alleged secret talks on Tuesday, claiming that the meetings took place in September and October. According to the British newspaper, Afghan officials and high-ranking Taliban commanders, including Mullah Abdul Manan Akhund, brother of former Taliban leader Mullah Omar, participated in the talks. Masoom Stanekzai, head of the Afghan National Security Directorate, and Hanif Atmar, National Security Advisor to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, attended the meetings in Qatar, the newspaper claimed.