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US-Taliban talks to resume Monday

AT News Report

KABUL: Peace negotiation between US and Taliban members have entered to its sixth round in Doha of Qatar with four conservative days of talks ended Sunday; the talks did not hold on Monday on the account of the first day of Ramadan. The talks will resume today (Tuesday), as fresh spate of violence grips the country in different fronts including the recent attack on police headquarters in Pule-e-Khumir city of northern Baghlan province on Sunday afternoon.

Taliban Qatar office spokesman Sohail Shaheen on his twitter account said that due to holiday on the first Ramadan their talks were suspended for a day. He said the talks would resume on Tuesday.

Taking advantage of the break, Khalilzad flew to India to discuss the Afghan peace process with Indian officials, Pajhwok Afghan News reported.

Shaheen said in the ongoing round they would try to reach an agreement on a timeline for withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan and the war on terrorism. He said an agreement on the withdrawal of foreign forces was essential before discussing other issues.

Earlier, Khalilzad had also said they were inching closer to an agreement on the two topics, but added nothing would be agreed until all topics were agreed upon.

Peace talks between U.S. negotiators and Taliban representatives in Doha, Qatar, have been interrupted to mark the beginning of Ramadan.

Shaheen told a foreign news agency late Sunday that talks hit an impasse over when foreign forces would depart Afghanistan.

Washington is demanding that militants establish security guarantees, a cease-fire, and make other commitments including an “intra-Afghan” dialogue with the Kabul government and other Afghan representatives before agreeing to any withdrawal.

The Taliban have said they would not take any of these steps until the United States announces a withdrawal timeline.

“Currently, the negotiations are in a good phase and they are moving in the right direction,” said Assadullah Zahiri, a spokesman for High Peace Council, a body which conducts peace efforts in country-level under the Afghan government.   

Sources familiar with Doha talks said the gap is narrowing between the US delegation and the Taliban members on issues around foreign forces withdrawal and counterterrorism assurances. The sources said the two sides have managed to overcome the “stalemate” on a timeline for troop withdrawal at this stage.

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