Envoys from U.S., China, Pakistan, Afghanistan to discuss peace talks Feb. 6

cia world fact book- source

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry announced Thursday that representatives from Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States will meet in the Pakistani capital Islamabad next month to discuss how to resume the stalled peace process between Kabul and the Taliban.

The ministry spokesman, Qazi Khalilullah, said the Feb. 6 meeting would continue the ongoing efforts to lay out a roadmap to peace for the war-shattered Afghan nation. It will be third such meeting in recent weeks.

Officials have said that Taliban representatives will be invited when the four countries reach some understanding on the overall roadmap.

Khalilullah said Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will soon travel to Qatar as part of that effort, but did not elaborate on that visit.

The announcement came days after the Afghan Taliban said its "political office" in Qatar was the only entity authorized to carry out negotiations on its behalf. The peace talks have been on the hold since July 2015, when the Afghan government revealed that Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar had been dead for years.

The Taliban ruled Afghanistan according to a harsh version of Islamic law from 1996 until late 2001, when it was ousted by a U.S.-led invasion launched after the Sept. 11, 2011 attacks.