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US to join direct peace talks in Qatar with Taliban over Afghanistan's future
'Peace and reconciliation' milestone comes after US drops request for formal rejection of al-Qaida as precondition to talks
* Dan Roberts in Washington and Emma Graham-Harrison in Kabul * guardian.co.uk,
Tuesday 18 June 2013 20.03 BST *
The US is to open direct talks with Taliban leaders within days, it was revealed on Tuesday, after Washington agreed to drop a series of preconditions that have previously held back negotiations over the future of Afghanistan.
In a major milestone in the 12-year-old war, political representatives of the Taliban will shortly meet Afghan and US officials in Doha, the capital of Qatar, to discuss an agenda for what US officials called "peace and reconciliation" before further talks take place with Afghan government representatives soon after.