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Russia Denies Holding Talks with Taliban in Qatar

Russia's foreign ministry says its presidential envoy for Afghanistan is not holding talks with the Taliban in Qatar, as a senior Taliban official has claimed.

A senior Taliban official told The Associated Press last week that Russian envoy Zamir Kabulov had met in the emirate with representatives of the Taliban to discuss the case of Pavel Petrenko, a Russian pilot seized by the Taliban in April after his cargo helicopter made an emergency landing in Afghanistan.

A ministry statement Wednesday said  that Kabulov, a former ambassador to Afghanistan and now Russian President Vladimir Putin's envoy, "is not holding any talks with the Taliban in Qatar."

The statement did not say if talks had been held previously or if talks were being held by other Russian officials or in other locations.

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