The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad, who sat with Taliban members for the fifth time in Qatar since last September, says the meetings in the last three days with the group’s members in Doha were “productive”.
When beginning the talks, Khalilzad said that this time he will be talking with a “more authoritative” delegation of the Taliban, pointing at the presence of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Taliban's deputy leader and head of the group's Qatar office.
“Meetings were productive. We continue to take slow, steady steps toward understanding and eventually #peace,” Khalilzad said in a tweet.
The announcement for a two-day break in US-Taliban talks was made in a statement by the Taliban on Thursday morning.
Khalilzad said “both sides will take the next two days for internal deliberations, with plans to regroup on Saturday”.
The four main topics of US-Taliban talks in Qatar have been US forces withdrawal from Afghanistan, ensuring that Afghanistan’s territory is not used as a threat to any other country, a comprehensive ceasefire and direct talks with the Afghan government. This was confirmed by the Afghan government as well as by sources ahead of the talks.
Pointing out to the four topics, Khalilzad said “all four key issues remain on the table”.
In his last visit to Kabul, Khalilzad called on the Afghan government to form a national team to engage in talks with the Taliban.
Mentioning this, Khalilzad said “as talks continue in Doha, there is also progress on forming a national team in Kabul ready to engage in intra-Afghan dialogue and talks with the Taliban”.