Tal­iban con­firms meet­ing with US peace en­voy in Qatar

Muscat Daily - - FRONT PAGE -

Kabul, Afghanistan - A Tal­iban del­e­ga­tion has met with US en­voy Zal­may Khalilzad in Qatar to dis­cuss end­ing the Afghan con­flict, the mil­i­tant group said on Satur­day, the first time ei­ther side has of­fi­cially con­firmed talks.

The di­rect ne­go­ti­a­tions - a long­stand­ing Tal­iban de­mand - were held as Khalilzad seeks to co­or­di­nate ef­forts with re­gional coun­tries, in­clud­ing Pak­istan and Saudi Ara­bia, to con­vince Afghanistan’s largest mil­i­tant group to en­gage in talks.

The meet­ing with Khalilzad and other Amer­i­can of­fi­cials took place in Doha on Fri­day, Tal­iban spokesman Zabi­hul­lah Mu­jahid said.

Tal­iban and US ne­go­tia­tors dis­cussed a ‘peace­ful end to the in­va­sion in Afghanistan’, Mu­jahid said, re­fer­ring to the US-led in­ter­ven­tion in 2001 that top­pled the Tal­iban regime.

But the group made clear that the pres­ence of for­eign forces in the coun­try was a ‘big ob­sta­cle’ to peace.

Both sides ‘agreed to con­tinue such meet­ings’, he added, without pro­vid­ing fur­ther de­tails.

Zal­may Khalilzad

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