China: Taliban Envoys Discussed Peace

China: Taliban Envoys Discussed Peace

BEIJING (AP) -- Taliban envoys visited Beijing to discuss peace efforts in Afghanistan with Chinese officials, the foreign ministry said Monday.

The delegation was led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a co-founder of the Taliban and head of its political office in the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar.

Baradar and Chinese foreign ministry officials exchanged views on the "process of advancing peace in Afghanistan," said a ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang. He gave no details.

Geng appealed to the United States and Taliban to maintain the momentum of peace negotiations and said China was ready to "play a constructive role."

U.S.-Taliban talks over a peace deal recently collapsed.

Beijing supports negotiations to "realize national reconciliation and peace and stability at an early date," Geng said. "China will continue to play constructive roles to this end."

Afghanistan is holding a presidential election on Saturday — a vote the Taliban vehemently opposes. The insurgent group has warned Afghans not to vote in the election and said their fighters would target election campaigns as well as polling stations.

(KR)