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US envoy for Afghan peace meets Taliban officials in Qatar

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    Qatar has served as a meeting location for US-Taliban discussions since 2011, though its Khalilzad’s first try at negotiations as special envoy [Omar Sobhani/Reuters]

    The US envoy for Afghanistan peace efforts met with Taliban representatives in Qatar on Friday as President Donald Trump’s administration pushed to find a way to end the 17-year-old Afghan war, the Wall Street Journal reported.

    The Journal, citing a person familiar with the gathering, said US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad met with Taliban officials in Doha, the second time in four months that US officials have held face-to-face talks with Taliban representatives.

    The Journal said it was not clear what the two sides discussed. Khalilzad, who is trying to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table, is currently on his first trip as the special representative.

    Khalilzad’s 11-day trip was to take him to Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

    Fighting between the Taliban and Afghan forces continues 17 years after US intervention [Rahmat Gul/AP Photo]

    The State Department declined to say whether the meeting with Taliban officials in Doha took place.

    Alice Wells, the State Department deputy assistant secretary for South and Central Asia, met Taliban officials in Doha in July for what were described as talks about talks.

    A Taliban official who was part of the four-person delegation to that meeting said it produced “very positive signals”.

    A US-led coalition forced the Taliban from power in 2001 in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks on Washington and New York.

    The group has seized a number of districts across the country in recent years and regularly attack security forces, often killing dozens.

    Taliban officials have set the withdrawal of American forces as a pre-condition for peace talks.

    View the original article: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/10/envoy-afghan-peace-meets-taliban-officials-qatar-181013084549975.html

    SOURCE: Reuters news agency

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