Afghanistan: Taliban confirms talks with U.S. peace envoy in Qatar

Blanche Robertson
October 13, 2018

Washington's newly named point man for Afghan peacemaking met Taliban representatives in the Gulf nation of Qatar on Friday, a person familiar with the gathering said, as the Trump administration stepped up efforts to cobble together a road map for talks aimed at ending the 17-year war in Afghanistan.

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.

The Journal said it was not clear what the two sides discussed. Khalilzad, who is trying to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table, is now on his first trip as the special representative.

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

US Envoy meet Taliban for restoring peace in Afghanistan

Khalilzad's 11-day trip has included meetings with officials in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.

The Journal, citing a person familiar with the gathering, said Khalilzad met with Taliban officials in Doha, the second time in four months that USA officials have held face-to-face talks with Taliban representatives.

The State Department declined to say whether the meeting with Taliban officials in Doha took place.

According to the statement released by Taliban, the political leaders of the group have told the USA delegation that the presence of the foreign forces is a major barrier on the way to resolve the issues and for the return of lasting peace in Afghanistan.

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