France to host meeting with Taliban

Afghan officials are meeting Taliban rebels and envoys from another Islamist militant group near Paris, looking beyond Afghanistan's uprising to a future long after international forces have returned home.

French hosts say the secretive, rare meeting among rival Afghans in Chantilly - known partly for its equine training grounds - today and tomorrow is not expected to involve any horse-trading towards a possible peace and reconciliation deal.

About 20 Afghans from President Hamid Karzai's government, the Taliban, as well as the political opposition and the Islamist Hezb-e-Islami militant group will be merely trying to foster a conversation after 11 years of war.

The meeting comes as France is pulling its last combat troops from Afghanistan - well ahead of Nato's withdrawal timetable.

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