Tale­ban to con­tinue talks with US spe­cial en­voy

Khaleej Times - - FRONT PAGE -

kabul — Tale­ban lead­ers will con­tinue to meet for dis­cus­sions with the newly ap­pointed US spe­cial en­voy for peace ef­forts in Afghanistan, the Tale­ban said on Satur­day, a move that could ac­cel­er­ate diplo­matic en­gage­ment be­tween the war­ring sides.

Zal­may Khalilzad, an Afghan­born US diplo­mat, met Tale­ban lead­ers in Qatar on Fri­day in an ef­fort to find a way to end the 17-year-old war in Afghanistan.

“Both sides spoke (about) an end to the oc­cu­pa­tion and a peace­ful so­lu­tion to the Afghan is­sue ... Both sides agreed to con­tinue meet­ing in the fu­ture,” Tale­ban spokesman Zabi­ul­lah Mu­jahid said in a state­ment.

Khalilzad ar­rived in Kabul on Satur­day and briefed Afghan Pres­i­dent Ashraf Ghani about his 10day tour of four coun­tries, which ended with the meet­ing with lead­ers of the mil­i­tant group.

A se­nior mem­ber of the Tale­ban said Khalilzad had asked the Tale­ban lead­er­ship, based in Doha, to de­clare a cease­fire in Afghanistan dur­ing up­com­ing par­lia­men­tary polls. “Both sides dis­cuss prospects of peace and the US pres­ence in Afghanistan,” said an­other Tale­ban of­fi­cial, re­quest­ing anonymity. —

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