Abdullah endorses U.S. talks with Taliban in Qatar

30 July, 2018, 22:46 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • Alice Wells the US's top diplomat for South Asia

"The United States is exploring all avenues to advance a peace process in close consultation with the Afghan government", said a statement released by the U.S. State Department after her return.

The Taliban has already held their first direct contact with us official in a preliminary discussion about future peace talks, a senior member of the insurgent group claimed on Saturday.

They involved several members of the Taliban political commission and Alice Wells, the State Department's senior South Asia diplomat, as well as other unidentified USA diplomats, according to the two 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. It was long realised by the United States that the Afghanistan war can only have a political solution. They added that there were "very positive signals" from the meeting, and that it was held in a "friendly atmosphere".

Speaking to members of the People's Peace Movement in Kabul, who are holding a sit-in protest close to the British embassy, Kay said anyone trying to get the Taliban to the talks table with the Afghan government is doing a good job.

NYT noted that the Taliban have long maintained an informal "political office" in Doha for the goal of restarting the long-dormant peace process.

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The Taliban are reported to have insisted that no Afghan officials should be present at the meeting with Ms Wells. The US has failed to end the group's militancy since it attacked Afghanistan 17 years ago.

The current leadership, most of whom are Mullah Omar's contemporaries, still believe their future in Afghanistan can be guaranteed only if the US's concerns are addressed.

In Kabul yesterday, Shah Hussain Murtazawi, deputy spokesman for Ghani, repeated the government's oft-stated position that peace talks should be "Afghan owned and Afghan led, any assistance the allies provide (would be in) a supportive role". They also destroyed 15 militants' command and control posts and 352 bunkers in different places over the period, according to official figures.

Earlier this month, the Trump administration told its senior diplomats that they could kick start the process of negotiations with the Taliban.

The pause in conflict was supported by USA led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces, and officials believe it was a major step toward peace.


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