Kabul, Feb 28 (IANS) Officials of the US and the Taliban have decided to take a two-day break in the ongoing peace talks in Qatar and regroup again over the weekend for the negotiations aimed at ending the 17-year Afghanistan conflict.
US Special Representative for Afghanistan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad tweeted on Thursday negotiators would regroup on Saturday after a two-day pause for internal deliberations.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said both the sides have decided to consult their respective leadership following discussions on the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan and the need for guarantees against terrorism in the war-torn country.
“The meetings ended last night (Wednesday) as both the teams agreed to take a break today (Thursday) and tomorrow (Friday) for consultations and preparations for the third meeting, which shall be held on Saturday,” Mujahid was quoted as saying by Efe news.
He said during the first three days of the latest round of talks in Qatar “extensive discussions were held about the method of foreign troops’ withdrawal” from Afghanistan.
“From that time onwards, discussions revolved around preventing Afghanistan from being used against others,” he said in reference to the use of Afghan territory as a base for carrying out attacks against the US and other countries.
Khalilzad termed the “three solid days of talks with the Taliban in Doha” as “productive”. “We continue to take slow, steady steps towards understanding and eventually peace. Both sides will take the next two days for internal deliberations, with plans to regroup on Saturday. All four key issues remain on the table,” he tweeted.
The two sides have made “progress on forming a national team in Kabul to engage in intra-Afghan dialogue and talks with the Taliban,” he said.
The meeting is the fifth round of negotiations between the US and the militant group, aimed at arriving at an agreement to put an end to conflict in Afghanistan.