Taleban official says group spoke with United States official

30 July, 2018, 22:49 | Author: Angel Logan
  • H8 us taliban peace talks

The Chief Executive of the Unity Government Abdullah Abdullah endorsed negotiations between the USA officials and Taliban group representatives in Qatar.

A senior Taliban official told VOA on Friday that Alice Wells, the State Department's deputy assistant secretary for South and Central Asia, led the American delegation in the meeting in Doha.

The Taliban, which has a political office in Qatar that serves as an unofficial embassy, has long demanded direct talks with the US.

"The environment was positive and the discussion was useful", the Taliban officials said on condition of anonymity. If talks did take place, it wold mark a major shift towards the Taliban, and an insinuation that the Americans may be interested to wrap up the longest conflict in U.S. history.

General John Nicholson, the top commander of USA forces in Afghanistan said the move was meant to bring the Afghan government and the militants closer and culminate in formal peace negotiations to end the long-running war. However, Wells was officially in Doha last week.

'Just because he signed on to this policy in August, most of the people who work for him have no trust and confidence that he'll stick to his policies, ' a former senior US official told NBC News.

It was not clear when the next meeting would be held or with whom, but the Taliban official who spoke out was certain one would be held.

Taliban's five-year rule over at least three quarters of Afghanistan came to an end when the US and its allies invaded the Asian country on October 7, 2001 as part of Washington's so-called war on terror.

He said the meeting was held in Qatar, where the Taleban maintained a political office since 2013.

Until now, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's national security team has said it is ready to hold talks with the Taliban at any time and that their allies, including the United States, should participate only as observers.

There are about 15,000 USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops still in Afghanistan.

The meeting in Doha came as the Afghan government is considering another unilateral ceasefire with the insurgents during the upcoming Eid festival in August to encourage the Taliban to come to the table for peace talks.

"U.S. officials and the Taliban took place earlier this week", said Aga Jan Mohtism.

The New York Times reports that Trump's State Department is negotiating directly with the Taliban, with no involvement by Afghanistan's government.

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