Top US official meets Afghan Taliban in Qatar

Top US official meets Afghan Taliban in Qatar

Hamdullah Mohib, the Afghan ambassador to the United States, disputed that US and Afghan forces were leaving rural areas and essentially surrendering them to the Taliban.

US diplomats have held direct peace talks with the Taliban aimed at ending the ongoing 17-year USA war in Afghanistan.

Late last week, a delegation from the US State Department was in Qatar to meet with Taliban officials.

U.S. officials neither confirmed nor denied a meeting took place but it would mark a significant development in ending the country's protracted war.

The talks also come on the heels of the election of Taliban-friendly and anti-American politician Imran Kahn as prime minister of Pakistan, which will undoubtedly complicate the prospect of peace between the Taliban and the Afghan government, a political reality of which the U.S.is well aware.

"The discussion was preliminary, initial and both discussed a future meeting and contacts", said the official on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

Pointing towards the talks between the USA and Taliban in Qatar, Abdullah said such contacts were being made in the past as well and have positive impact on the ongoing efforts for reconciliation.

It wasn't clear when the next meeting would be held or with whom, but the Taleban official who spoke to The AP was certain one would be held. It will effectively ensure that the Taliban and other insurgent groups will hold on to territory that they have already seized, leaving the government in Kabul to safeguard the capital and cities such as Kandahar, Kunduz, Mazar-i-Sharif and Jalalabad.




The Taliban are reported to have insisted that no Afghan officials should be present at the meeting with Ms Wells.

The conflict in Afghanistan began in 2001, it saw the U.S. lead 40 other countries to fight Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and associated forces who they said were responsible for the armed attack on the World Trade Centre in NY.

The retreat to the cities is a searing acknowledgment that the US -installed government in Afghanistan remains unable to lead and protect the country's sprawling rural population.

The United States and Afghanistan are also trying to arrange a second ceasefire with the Taliban over Eidul Azha.

The Afghan president's office told the Times on Saturday that it welcomes any support for peace efforts.

The Times reported earlier this month that the Trump administration urged its top diplomats to seek direct talks with the Taliban to rekindle negotiations to end the war. The Taliban have long-awaited direct talks with the U.S. as a precondition to discuss their security concerns and the future of Afghanistan.

His release was eventually secured in May 2014 in exchange for the five Taliban prisoners, who are living in Doha.

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