Afghan Envoy: Council to Discuss Peace

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- The Afghan president's special peace envoy says a traditional council of Afghan political and tribal leaders, known as Loya Jirga, will be held next month to discuss negotiations with the Taliban.

Mohammad Omar Daudzai says the council will take place in the second half of March. The council members are expected to come up with a framework for the Kabul government to engage in peace talks with the insurgents.

Daudzai said in a televised speech on Wednesday that the majority of Afghan politicians want the ongoing U.S.-Taliban talks to lay the groundwork for direct negotiations between the Taliban and the government of President Ashraf Ghani.

The Taliban have so far refused direct talks with Kabul but have been negotiation with the U.S. to end its 17-year war in Afghanistan.

(KA)