USA resumes talks with Taliban after three months in Doha

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A State Department spokesperson said, on Saturday the Afghan group held their first round of talks with the USA peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Doha, Qatar, where the Taliban hold a political office.

The United States resumed talks with the Taliban in Qatar, three months after President Donald Trump abruptly halted diplomatic efforts that could end the longest U.S. war.

"The US rejoined talks today in Doha".

"Discussions were held on three topics, first the U.S. and the Taliban will resume their direct talks, and they will try to focus on the issue of reduction of violence and the intra-Afghan negotiations", said Shahzada Massoud, former advisor to Karzai.

The peace talks are aimed at striking a deal with the Taliban to allow USA and foreign troops to withdraw from Afghanistan in exchange for the insurgents' guarantee to provide security.

The renewed talks will lay the foundations for direct talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government that many hope will lead to a peace agreement.

It was also expected to pave the way toward direct talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government in Kabul and, ultimately, a possible peace agreement after more than 18 years of war.

Trump has expressed frustration with the longest United States war repeatedly saying he wants to bring the 12,000 American soldiers home and calling on Afghanistan's own police and military to step up.

During a surprise Thanksgiving visit to an American military base in Afghanistan last month, Trump said the Taliban "want to reach an agreement".

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The Taliban, which now holds sway over almost half of Afghanistan, has continued to carry out near-daily attacks against military outposts throughout the country.

The halt to the talks in September came at a crucial stage when it was thought both sides had nearly concluded an agreement.

Zalmay Khalilzad, the US envoy, met in Qatar with Taliban representatives to secure a pledge to reduce violence as a first step, the State Department said.

During his trip, Khalilzad held talks with top Afghan government officials and politicians, including ex-President Hamid Karzai.

Referring to the schedule of United States troop's withdrawal from Afghanistan and ceasefire's coincidence with their departure, Shaheen said that all of these issues have been discussed previously, and the solution is outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding.

The Afghan security forces have recently beefed up security operations against the Taliban militants who have been attempting to take territory and consolidate their positions in the countryside ahead of winter.

Rejecting the possibility of Taliban's cooperation with the future Afghan government resulting from this election, he said that If the Taliban is to recognize the future Afghanistan government, then what is the insistence on war, and there will be no need for resistance.

However, some Afghan analysts urged caution in the negotiations. "Well, a troop withdrawal on the part of the coalition reduces our military leverage", Nicholson said.

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