U.S.,Taliban held ‘solid’ talks

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Diplomatic push to end Afghanistan war to resume over weekend

The U.S. and the Taliban have paused negotiations in Doha, with the diplomatic push aimed at ending the war in Afghanistan set to restart over the weekend following “solid” talks between the adversaries.

The latest meetings follow marathon talks last month that saw the U.S. and the Taliban walk away with a “draft framework” focussed on a potential U.S. troop withdrawal and a pact to prevent Afghanistan from harbouring terrorists.

“Emerging from three solid days of talks with the Taliban in #Doha. Meetings were productive,” tweeted U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who is leading the American side during the negotiations.

“We continue to take slow, steady steps toward understanding and eventually #peace,” he said.

“Both sides will take the next two days for internal deliberations, with plans to regroup on Saturday,” Khalilzad added.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid confirmed the pause, adding the insurgents were “committed to the current peace process along with peace”.

The U.S. has continued to push for a ceasefire in the war-torn country and the opening of negotiations between the Taliban and the Kabul government.

The Taliban however have repeatedly refused to meet with officials of the Afghan government, whom they dismiss as “puppets”.

Earlier this week, Mr. Zalmay Khalilzad met the Taliban’s top political leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Doha, in what has been touted as the highest-level engagement between the two sides.

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