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Khalilzad will rejoin talks with Taliban: US



Washington/Kabul, Dec 5 (IANS) The US State Department has said that Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad "will rejoin the talks with the Taliban in Doha to discuss steps that could lead to intra-Afghan negotiations and a peaceful settlement to the ongoing conflict in the country".

The talks are scheduled in the Qatari capital later this week, TOLO News reported on Thursday.

"In Kabul, Special Representative Khalilzad will meet Afghan government representatives and other leaders to follow up on President (Donald) Trump’s recent visit and to discuss how best to support accelerated efforts to get all parties to intra-Afghan negotiations," the Department said in a statement on Wednesday.

"In Doha, Ambassador Khalilzad will rejoin talks with the Taliban to discuss steps that could lead to intra-Afghan negotiations and a peaceful settlement of the war, specifically a reduction in violence that leads to a ceasefire," it added.

Meanwhile, Khalilzad met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul on Wednesday and the two sides exchanged views related to the peace process, including "the prospect for a ceasefire as a result of a peace agreement and the issue of Taliban’s sanctuaries outside Afghanistan", the Ghani’s office tweeted.

The US and Taliban were close to signing a peace deal in September before Trump abruptly pulled out of the process at the last minute citing Taliban’s continued attacks targeting the American soldiers.

Meanwhile, Pakistan, which facilitated the nine-month long painstaking peace process in Doha, has pushed for the resumption of talks since it believes that use of force by either side would not resolve the lingering conflict, reports The Express Tribune.

In October, it hosted the Afghan Taliban delegation led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

It also arranged a meeting between the US special envoy and the visiting Taliban delegation.

There were no details shared by either side of that meeting held in Islamabad but sources familiar with the development that the focus of discussion on the ceasefire or at least reduction of violence by all sides.


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