Wed, 24 Jul 2019

Washington has confirmed that its envoy on Afghanistan has been meeting in Qatar this week with Taliban representatives as part of a peace process for the war-torn country.

The U.S. State Department said Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. special representative on Afghan reconciliation, met in Doha on January 22 with 'representatives of the Taliban.'

A State Department spokeswoman said the talks were taking place over two days and also involved 'an interagency team' from the United States.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, in a statement released by the Afghan Islamic Press, said two days of talks between Khalilzad and Afghan Taliban representatives began in Doha on January 21.

There was no immediate word from the Afghan government about the latest Doha talks.

In the past, the Taliban has rejected calls by the United States for Taliban delegates to meet with representatives of Afghanistan's central government.

Khalilzad has recently made visits to China, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan in an effort to bring the Taliban and Afghan government negotiators together.

On Twitter, Khalilzad described those visits as successful for the Afghan peace process.

Based on reporting by RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal and AFP

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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