Afghan Taliban say latest talks with US are 'critical'

The Taliban's top political leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar left and chief negotiator Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai met Afghans in Moscow last month

The Taliban's top political leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar left and chief negotiator Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai met Afghans in Moscow last month

A Reuters report cited unidentified sources as saying that at least 19 people had been killed in the Taliban attack on a government office on Saturday night.

Some Afghan officials fear the United States and the Taliban will strike a deal allowing the U.S. to leave the country, leaving government forces to battle on alone.

A potential deal would see the USA agree to withdraw its troops after more than 17 years in Afghanistan.

Kabul-based Bilal Sarwary has more on the latest round of peace talks.

The Taliban view President Ashraf Ghani's government as an American puppet but have said they will meet with members of his administration as individuals. Election workers were in the middle of registering votes ahead of the presidential elections, scheduled to be held on September 28.

Khalilzad has suggested that presidential elections could hinder peace efforts.

People were waiting for England to fail: Bairstow
However, Buttler also hopes that England will also get some great support during the high-voltage clash against India . After the ongoing game, India will lock horns against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and will be confident of going ahead.

Saturday's talks will be led by Zalmay Khalilzad, the USA peace envoy for Afghanistan, who has held six rounds of talks with the Taliban in Qatar's capital of Doha since October.

Kabul: At least 25 pro-government militias were killed in a Taliban attack in northern Afghanistan Saturday, officials said, as the United States was due to start a new round of talks with the militants in Qatar.

A defense ministry's deputy spokesman, Fawad Aman, says Taliban detonated four stolen Humvees full of explosives outside the district's police headquarter, where the election officials were staying.

For its part, the insurgent group claimed that its fighters killed almost 60 Afghan security forces and captured eleven others in the attack on the district.

The agreements are expected to include guarantees that Afghanistan will not harbor groups like al-Qaida, which was based there in the lead-up to the September 11 attacks, and that the Taliban will continue fighting the Islamic State group, which has expanded its footprint in recent years.

The discussions with American interlocutors to hammer out the deal continued "uninterrupted" for nearly 12 hours on the opening day on Saturday, said Suhail Shaheen, who speaks for the Taliban's negotiating team.

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