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Doha talks prolonged over US withdrawal and prisoner release

AT News

KABUL: A source close to the ongoing peace negotiations between Taliban and the US diplomats, have said that the talks had been lengthened as the sides are unable to agree on a complete US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the release of 5,000 Taliban fighters from government custody.

Suhail Shahin, spokesman of the militants’ political office in Qatar said Wednesday that negotiations were going on and the details would be announced later.

“Late yesterday (Tuesday), honorable Mullah Baradar Akhund, honorable Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanakzai and honorable Mullah Amir Khan Mottaqi met with Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad and Gen. Scott Miller in Doha, discussing next steps. The two teams are expected to hold joint session,” Shahin said, without elaborating.

The statements come amid reports that Taliban and the US have got a final agreement and the deal would be signed soon. The reports say that the two sides were negotiating on the venue of signing the deal.

“The talks over date and venue for signing the peace deal continued Wednesday in Qatar,” said Maulavi Qalamuddin, minister of vice and virtue in Taliban’s government. “Of course everything was not resolved. The details on the date and venue of signing ceremony are not simple matters. It is very important that who is going to sign it and where it is signed. Who should be present at the ceremony. Which countries should monitor and which ones should guarantee.”

He said that American negotiators had been haggling on the number of their soldiers for protection of the US embassy in the past nine rounds of talks, but Taliban did not agree.

Taliban rejected Khalilzad’s ceasefire demand before signing of the peace deal.

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