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Taliban-US talks resume in Doha as 'deadlock' breaks

Daily Times(PK) logo Daily Times(PK) 22/01/2019 Daily Times(PK) (via HT Media Ltd.)

Afghan Taliban said the United States has agreed to discuss the withdrawal of the troops that led to the resumption of talks in Qatar on Monday after the deadlock of nearly a month in the peace process.

"Following US acceptance of the agenda of ending invasion of Afghanistan and preventing Afghanistan from being used against other countries in the future, talks with American representatives took place today (Monday) in Doha, the capital of Qatar," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said, adding that the session will also continue on Tuesday.

The formal talks began after the two sides agreed on a two-point agenda. "The two-point agenda says a.) US-led foreign forces would end the 'occupation' of Afghanistan, and b.) Afghan soil would not be used in future to harm any country," Mujahid said in the statement.

Both sides last met in the United Arab Emirates in December.

The Taliban did not accept suggestion to meet the US envoy in Pakistan and insisted on the Qatar political office designated for peace talks and that other countries who want to help in the peace should approach the same office.

Taliban walk as they celebrate ceasefire in Ghanikhel district of Nangarhar province, Afghanistan June 16, 2018. © Reuters Taliban walk as they celebrate ceasefire in Ghanikhel district of Nangarhar province, Afghanistan June 16, 2018.

Sources say Pakistan has also played a key role in resumption of talks in Qatar at a time when Prime Minister Imran Khan has also arrived in Doha on a two-day official visit.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Monday said the prime minister will also discuss reconciliation in Afghanistan during the visit. "Qatar has played its role in Afghan reconciliation. The Afghan Taliban had opened their political office there and they have been playing their role. We will hold consultations on the peace process as to how can we jointly work on the initiative for peace and reconciliation to make the region peaceful and stable," he said in a departure statement.

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Zalmay Khalilzad, who concluded his four-day visit to Islamabad on Sunday to explore ways for political solution to the Afghan conflict, has said he is confident of achieving 'concrete results'. "We're heading in the right direction with more steps by Pakistan coming that will lead to concrete results," he wrote on Twitter late Sunday. He said he had 'good meetings' during Pakistan leg of his current trip of the region.

Published by HT Digital Content Services with permission from Daily Times.

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