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October 21, 2019
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US-Taliban talks to continue in Doha today

ISLAMABAD: The United States and the Taliban will continue their dialogue in Qatar’s capital Doha.

The Afghan Taliban and the US resumed the stalled peace process on Monday in Qatar. The two sides are trying to end the stalemate over the participation of Afghan government in negotiations for a political settlement of the 17-year conflict.

On Monday, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid in a statement said: “Following American acceptance of the agenda of ending the invasion of Afghanistan and preventing Afghanistan from being used against other countries in the future, talks with American representatives took place today in Doha.”

Doha meeting happened as the Taliban fighters attacked an Afghan intelligence agency — National Directorate of Security — installation in Maidan Shahr, Kabul, killing and wounding dozens of security personnel.

The two sides — US and Taliban — had last met in December 2018 in Abu Dhabi in a meeting facilitated by Pakistan and observed by Saudi Arabia and UAE.

They had agreed to continue the engagement process. However, the next round of talks hit snags after the Taliban refused to sit with the Afghan government. The Taliban have, meanwhile, been insisting that the US should instead withdraw its forces and release Taliban prisoners.

There was no word from the US side on the Taliban claim after the latest meeting in Doha that US had agreed to discuss withdrawal plans.