Taliban confirm meeting with US peace envoy in Qatar

Lester Mason
October 14, 2018

President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday met with the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad who briefed the president on his visit to regional countries this past week, and said the US is ready to help Afghanistan with the peace process, the Presidential Palace said in a statement.

It couldn't immediately be determined what the American envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, discussed with Taliban officials in Qatar's capital Doha.

Washington has neither confirmed nor denied the Qatar meeting, which came amid a renewed push by U.S. President Donald Trump's administration to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table for peace talks with the Afghan government.

But a wave of attacks by the Taliban and the Daesh group in recent months has poured cold water on the nascent optimism for peace.

President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday met with Khalilzad who briefed him on his visit to regional countries this past week, and said the USA is ready to help Afghanistan with the peace process, the Presidential Palace said in a statement.

During the latest meeting, the Taliban told Khalilzad that the presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan was a "big obstacle" to peace, Mujahid said.


The United States and the Taliban held a new round of direct talks this week in Qatar, where the two sides agreed to continue the dialogue process to promote a negotiated settlement to the 17-year-old war in Afghanistan. He also visited Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

A spokesman for the USA embassy in Kabul declined to comment.

The Taliban's decision to issue a statement on the meeting suggests it sees the talks with Khalilzad as a propaganda win, analysts said.

But under pressure to break the impasse with the group, Washington appeared to change tack in June when US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said his country was prepared to "participate" in talks.

This is the second meeting of a top United States official with the Taliban. Khalilzad arrived in Kabul from Qatar, winding up his first official trip since being named special envoy. Khalilzad said the USA will continue its efforts with the Afghan peace process alongside the leadership of the Afghan government, the statement said.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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