Published On: Mon, Oct 15th, 2018

#Taliban to hold further talks with US after meeting with special envoy –  The #US #delegation agreed to discuss a #US #withdrawal from #Afghanistan in further meetings, a #Taliban commander

The Taliban said it will hold further talks with the United States on ending the 17-year war in Afghanistan after meeting a US delegation on Friday.

The US side was led by the recently appointed Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad, an Afghan-born former US ambassador to Kabul, while the Taliban was represented by top officials of its political office in the Qatari capital, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told The National.

“The representatives of the Islamic Emirate [Afghanistan] identified the presence of foreign forces as the greatest obstacle obstructing true peace and solving problems, adding that Afghanistan is an Islamic country and has its own Islamic values and culture,” he said.

“Keeping that in mind, efforts must be made towards a true and intra-Afghan solution. At the end both sides agreed to continue holding meetings in the future.”

The US delegation agreed to discuss a US withdrawal from Afghanistan in further meetings, a Taliban commander told The National.

There was no confirmation of the talks from the US, although a top Afghan government official told The National it was an “initial meeting to discuss peace” while refusing to disclose details.

Mr Khalilzad did not mention the meeting in a statement released through the US embassy in Kabul, where he returned on Saturday after travelling to Pakistan, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

“The United States shares the aspirations of all Afghans for a peaceful Afghanistan where all Afghans see themselves included,” he said. “All citizens of Afghanistan must be a part of this reconciliation process.”

Mr Khalilzad did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The National. The US State Department was unavailable for comment before time of going to press.

The Taliban spokesman said its six-member negotiating team was made up of Al Haj Sher Muhammad Abbas Stanikzai, the head of its political office; his deputy Mawlawi Abdul Salam Hanafi; and office members Sheikh Shahabuddin Delawar, Qari Deen Muhammad Hanif, Al Haj Muhammad Zahid Ahmadzai and Muhammad Sohail Shaheen.

Read more: Taliban to hold further talks with US after meeting with special envoy – The National

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