Taleban official says group spoke with USA official
Taleban official says group spoke with USA official
Taliban Describes as ‘Productive’ Initial Direct Talks with US
30 July, 2018, 22:46
The U.S. State Department declined to comment on the reported meeting with the Afghan insurgency.
USA diplomats held direct talks with the Taliban marking the first face-to face peace effort since President Trump gave the nod for such negotiations on July 15.
The New York Times citing unnamed Taliban officials said the talks took place in Doha, where the Taliban has a political office to restart the stalled peace process.
During a news conference last month in Brussels, Gen. John Nicholson Jr., commander of the US -led coalition in Afghanistan, said remote outposts were being overrun by the Taliban, which were seizing local forces' vehicles and equipment.
A Taliban official has said that a meeting with a high ranking US diplomat aimed at a ceasefire was concluded with "very positive signals". They added that there were "very positive signals" from the meeting, and that it was held in a "friendly atmosphere".
Last week, State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert confirmed that Ms Wells was in Qatar last week where she met the deputy prime minister and other Qatari officials to "talk about their contributions to the situation in Afghanistan".
Taliban's five-year rule over at least three quarters of Afghanistan came to an end when the USA and its allies invaded the Asian country on October 7, 2001 as part of Washington's so-called war on terror.
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Until now, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's national security team said it is ready to hold talks with the Taleban at any time and that their allies, including the United States, should participate only as observers.
At the time the direct talks, which the Taliban also said would be restricted to USA concerns about the movement and troop withdrawal, was to be followed by talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government.
The pause in conflict was supported by US led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces, and officials believe it was a major step toward peace.
The Afghan president's office told the Times on Saturday that it welcomes any support for peace efforts.
There was also a suggestion at the time that the talks would include the freedom of five Taliban held in the US prison at Guantanamo Bay and the release of captured USA soldier Bowe Bergdahl. The Taliban have long-awaited direct talks with the USA as a precondition to discuss their security concerns and the future of Afghanistan. According to the official, the talks were held without the presence of Afghan government envoys.
His release was eventually secured in May 2014 in exchange for the five Taliban prisoners, who are living in Doha.
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