US-Taliban Talks Resume in Doha After a One-Day Break

U.S. and Taliban representatives on Thursday resumed their talks in Qatar after a one-day break.

During the break, the U.S. Special Envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad headed to India and held talks on Afghan peace with India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

Sources familiar with Doha talks said the gap is narrowing between the two sides on a timeline for troop withdrawal.

“We hope the two sides reach to a final agreement at this round. Right now, the two sides are looking for a third option to name the Taliban group in the agreement. Both sides have shown flexibility regarding troops withdrawal,” said Waheed Muzhda, an Afghan analyst who follows the Taliban.

The sources revealed that senior military officials of both sides were also present during the talks, adding that the two sides are inching closer to the final agreement.

According to the sources familiar with the development, Mullah Mohammad Fazl Deputy Defense Minister during the Taliban regime in Kabul who was a prisoner in Guantanamo prison in Cuba is also present during the talks.

The sixth round of direct talks between the U.S. and Taliban representatives began on Wednesday, 1 May, in Doha, the capital of Qatar.

In this round, the U.S. delegation is expected to focus on an intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations, and a reduction in violence.

However, some politicians criticize the absence of Afghan government from Doha talks.

“The world is aware of the [Doha] talks except for the Afghan government, so the war will not end until Afghans decide to end it,” said Sayed Ishaq Gailani, Head of the National Solidarity Movement of Afghanistan.

This comes as the Afghan government has not finalized its negotiating team due to internal rifts.

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