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Taliban in Moscow just days after Trump says talks ‘dead’

In this June 30, 2018, file photo, Kremlin guards perform in Red Square with St. Basil's Cathedral in the background in Moscow, Russia. A negotiating team from the Taliban arrived in Russia, just days after U.S. President Donald Trump declared dead a deal with the insurgent group in Afghanistan, a representative said Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (Pavel Golovkin / AP)
In this June 30, 2018, file photo, Kremlin guards perform in Red Square with St. Basil's Cathedral in the background in Moscow, Russia. A negotiating team from the Taliban arrived in Russia, just days after U.S. President Donald Trump declared dead a deal with the insurgent group in Afghanistan, a representative said Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (Pavel Golovkin / AP)
By Kathy Gannon Associated Press

ISLAMABAD – A Taliban official says the insurgent group’s negotiating team has arrived in the Russian capital just days after U.S. President Donald Trump declared a deal that had been nearly a year in the making was dead.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not say with whom the Taliban would be meeting in Moscow on Friday.

The visit marked an interesting development given that the insurgent group made Moscow its first international visit following the collapse of talks with Washington. The team is led by Mullah Sher Mohammad Stanikzai.

Moscow has been accused of aiding the Taliban as a safeguard against a burgeoning Islamic State affiliate closely linked to the Central Asian terrorist group, the Islamic Movement of Afghanistan.

Moscow has twice this year hosted meetings between the Taliban and prominent Afghan personalities.

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