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“US, Taliban hail progress in peace talks”

AT News Report

KABUL: The US envoy for Afghanistan peace, Zalmay Khalilzad who holds negotiations with Taliban in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar, said of progresses gained in four issues of talks, calling the seventh round of negotiations “the most effective”.

“Progresses made in guarantees of fight against terrorism, troop drawdown, intra-Afghan talks and a comprehensive ceasefire,” Khalilzad said, without providing details.

The seventh round of talks between Khalilzad and Taliban negotiators began last week in Doha, but it seems that nothing has been finalized despite progresses.

Suhail Shaheen, spokesman for Taliban’s political office based in Qatar, said Sunday that the group was happy with the progress of negotiations. “We hope the rest of work completes soon, we haven’t faced a special obstacle during the negotiations.”

Both Khalilzad and Shaheen have said the negotiations paused because of the intra-Afghan dialogue between Taliban and politicians from Kabul held in the same city. The US-Taliban talks will resume on Tuesday.

Some 70 people including politicians, civil society activists and women representatives have participated in the dialogue, while the government has rejected the meeting.

Omar Zakhilwal, former Afghan ambassador to Islamabad who is participating in the dialogue, said that there was a mixture of optimism and mistrust in the meeting.

He said that the intra-Afghan dialogue would help finalizing of US-Taliban talks and the beginning of negotiations between Taliban and the government of Afghanistan.

The peace talks are held amid horrific attacks by Taliban in Afghanistan. On Sunday, a car bomb ripped through Ghazni city, the provincial capital of the same name, killing more than a dozen and wounding nearly 200 people, including school children.

Taliban have not yet agreed to hold face to face talks with the government of Afghanistan, but have sat three times with the politicians most of them former government officials including ex president Hamid Karzai.

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