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Washington resumed talks with the Taliban in Qatar Saturday, both sides said, three months after President Donald Trump abruptly halted diplomatic efforts that could end Americas longest war.
It was also expected to pave the way towards direct talks between the Taliban and the government in Kabul and, ultimately, a possible peace agreement after more than 18 years of war.
But that same month, Trump abruptly called the year-long effort “dead” and withdrew an invitation to the insurgents to join secret talks at his US retreat at Camp David after the killing of an American soldier.
“The US rejoined talks today in Doha. The focus of discussion will be reduction of violence that leads to intra-Afghan negotiations and a ceasefire,” said the US source briefed on efforts to end almost two decades of war in Afghanistan.
The Taliban spokesman in Qatar, Suhail Shaheen, confirmed the talks on his Twitter account, saying they had resumed “from where they were broken off”.
“Talks revolved around the signing of an agreement and related issues,” he wrote.
“Negotiations will resume tomorrow.”
Anas Haqqani, brother to the Talibans deputy leader, participated in the talks, Shaheen confirmed.
Haqqani was released from Afghan government custody last month as part of a prisoner swap that saw an American academic and his Australian colleague freed.
During a surprise visit to a US military base in Afghanistan last week, Trump said the Taliban “wants to make a deal.”
Even during the stall in talks, US negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad has in recent weeks made a whistle-stop tour of nations with a stake in Afghan peace, including Pakistan.
He recently arranged a captive swap in which the Taliban released an American and an Australian academic whom they had held hostage for three years.
The Taliban have until now refused to negotiate with the Afghan government, which they consider an illegitimate regime.
In a nod to concerns raised by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, the US State Department voiced support for a ceasefire—a key priority for KRead More – Source