New round of US-Taliban talks opens in Doha: Taliban

Doha: Talks between the US and the Taliban seeking to end nearly 18 years of war in Afghanistan resumed in Doha on Saturday, the Taliban said.

“Today the talks began,” the insurgent group’s spokesman in Doha, Suhail Shaheen, told AFP.

The US, which invaded Afghanistan and toppled the Taliban in 2001, wants to withdraw thousands of troops and is hoping for a breakthrough.

However, any drawdown would be on condition the insurgent group renounces Al-Qaeda and curbs attacks.

Washington is hoping to strike a peace deal with the Taliban by September 1 — ahead of Afghan polls due the same month, and US presidential polls due in 2020.

US President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday that “we’ve made a lot of progress. We’re talking”.

A coalition led by Washington ousted the Taliban, accusing it of harbouring Al-Qaeda jihadists who claimed the September 11, 2001 attacks against the US that killed almost 3,000 people. (Agencies)

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