KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban’s deputy leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, arrived in Qatar on Sunday, officials said, for what could be the highest-level negotiations yet between the insurgents and American diplomats to end the long Afghan war.
The next round of talks, scheduled to begin on Monday in Doha, the Qatari capital, is expected to focus on the details of a framework deal that the two sides agreed to in principle last month, in which American troops would withdraw from Afghanistan in return for a guarantee by the Taliban that Afghan territory would never be used by terrorists.
The talks so far have excluded the Afghan government. American officials have said that any final agreement with the United States would require the insurgents to meet with Afghan officials and to declare a cease-fire to ease the burden of a war that is taking lives in record numbers.
Visiting Kabul before the next round of talks, Zalmay Khalilzad, the special envoy leading the American delegation, said he would be pushing the insurgents to agree to those two points.
Mullah Baradar’s travels to Doha from Pakistan, where he had been detained for years, was confirmed by a Western official who is closely following the peace developments, as well as by a former Taliban official who still has contacts with the group.
“Mullah Baradar reached Doha an hour ago, and he will take part in peace talks with Khalilzad,” the former Taliban official, Sayid Akbar Agha, said.