US, Taliban pause negotiations in Doha following 'solid' talks

Taliban says held 'extensive talks' with US officials reconvening Saturday

Taliban says held 'extensive talks' with US officials reconvening Saturday

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

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

President Donald Trump told Congress this month he meant to reduce USA forces from Afghanistan as negotiators make progress in talks with Taliban insurgents, saying, "Great nations do not fight endless wars".

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad claimed that the Doha talks which started on Monday were productive.

The group in a statement said the two sides had extensive talks regarding foreign troops withdrawal over the past two days and discussions also took place regarding the prevention of Afghanistan from being used against the others. Senior Taliban leaders, including one of the group's founders, have arrived in Qatar for another round of talks with Washington's special envoy tasked with finding a negotiated solution to Afghanistan's protracted war.

There was no accord on a USA withdrawal or a ceasefire, however, issues which have derailed attempts at peace talks in the past, while the government in Kabul has voiced increasingly loud fears it was being sidelined from the talks.

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Mentioning this, Khalilzad said "as talks continue in Doha, there is also progress on forming a national team in Kabul ready to engage in intra-Afghan dialogue and talks with the Taliban".

The talks are seen as the most promising yet between the warring parties after the Taliban's newly-appointed political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar joined for the first time.

Baradar is believed to be widely respected by the Taliban's various factions and analysts said his participation would help garner support for any deal from insurgents on the frontlines.

Some 14,000 United States troops are based in Afghanistan as part of a US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation mission to train, assist and advise Afghan forces.

US President Donald Trump has signalled his eagerness to end his country´s involvement in Afghanistan, where 14,000 American troops are still deployed.

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