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Saudi Arabia is to host a major conference on Afghanistan expected to be attended by Taliban sympathizers, RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan reports.

The conference is expected to exclude any high-profile representatives of the militant group, but sources said Taliban "sympathizers" and "associates" are expected to participate.

Maulawi Attaullah Ludin, deputy chair of the Afghan High Peace Council, told RFE/RL today that an exact date for the conference is yet to be set. But he said preliminary preparations are complete on the talks that will focus on "how to conduct and proceed [with a] peace dialogue with the Taliban."

"We look forward to this [conference] as a tipping point for peace talks with the Taliban," Ludin added. "That is why their sympathizers and cohorts will attend this conference."

Scholars from the Islamic world and representatives from the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) are also expected to attend.

The High Peace Council is the driving force behind the fresh Saudi-based initiative to boost efforts to find a political solution for Afghanistan.

It comes amid ongoing discussions about the possibility of Turkey's hosting a Taliban office as a way of helping with the talks on ending Afghanistan's insurgency.

There's been no comment from the Taliban on the latest initiative, but the group has previously rejected such efforts led by the Afghan government.
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