Week-Long US-Taliban Talks End Without Breakthrough

This photo released by Qatar's Ministry of Foreign Affairs shows Qatari, U.S. and Taliban officials holding talks at an undisclosed location, in Doha, Feb. 25, 2019.

The Taliban and the United States have concluded week-long negotiations in Qatar but reported no significant progress toward advancing peace efforts in Afghanistan.

The talks focused on two issues: U.S. troop withdrawal from the country in return for the Taliban’s assurances it will not allow terrorists to use Afghan soil to attack other countries, said a spokesman for the insurgent group.

Suhail Shaheen described what he said was the sixth round of talks as “positive and constructive.” He said “some progress” was made on a preliminary agreement the two sides had reached in their last meeting in early March, covering the issues.

“Both sides listened to each other with care and patience,” he noted. Shaheen said Taliban and American negotiating teams will consult with their respective leaders and “discuss the remaining points in the next round of talks.” He did not elaborate further.

U.S. special reconciliation envoy Zalmay Khalilzad led the U.S. team. The Afghan-born chief American negotiator has said a final agreement with the Taliban would be linked to a comprehensive cease-fire and insurgent participation in an intra-Afghan dialogue for permanently ending hostilities.

But the Taliban want Washington to agree to and announce a troop withdrawal plan before it opens discussions on other issues related to bringing sustainable peace to Afghanistan.

The insurgent group continues to launch deadly attacks in the country, including Wednesday’s car bomb and gun raid against a U.S.-funded non-governmental organization in the Afghan capital, Kabul. That attack killed nine people and injured more than 20 others.


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