U.S., Taliban make progress in Doha talks — U.S. official


 The U.S. and Taliban made excellent progress in the recent round of talks that resumed over the weekend in the Qatari capital of Doha, a U.S. official said on Monday.

U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, said this in a series of tweets while he was leaving for prescheduled meetings in India.

According to him, the teams on both sides will continue to discuss technical details as well as steps and mechanisms required for a successful implementation of the four-part agreement.

Both sides were optimistic in recent days that an agreement will be finalised.

A Taliban spokesman for the organisation’s political office in Doha said on Twitter on Saturday that if an agreement between both sides is finalised, “all foreign forces will exit Afghanistan in the time frame specified.’’

Spokesman Suhail Shaheen said the road to talks with the “Afghan sides” will also open.

The Taliban have so far refused to speak to the Afghan government, which they call a puppet regime.

While there is still no assurance that a breakthrough will take place, sources say the differences on both sides are small.

The U.S. and the Taliban have been meeting since last summer in the hopes of finding a peaceful solution to the Afghan conflict that has been raging for nearly two decades.

Washington above all wants Taliban guarantees that Afghanistan will not become a safe haven for terrorists while the Taliban is focused on ensuring the withdrawal of all U.S.-led foreign forces from Afghanistan.

According to the U.S., an agreement should also include a ceasefire and direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

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