Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, March 23rd, 2019

5th Round of US-Taliban Parleys Gets Under Way

5th Round of US-Taliban Parleys Gets Under Way

KABUL - The fifth round of peace talks between Taliban and US representatives is begin in Doha, the capital of Qatar, yesterday (Tuesday).
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said a complete withdrawal of foreign forces and an assurance that the Afghan territory would not be used for terrorism would be discussed.
On Monday, Mujahid said the group’s political representatives and US negotiators attended a hospitality meeting organised by Qatari officials.
Other sources said a ceasefire and face-to-face talks with the Afghan government would also be discussed.
Earlier, the insurgent group confirmed Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, leading the Taliban negotiating team, had arrived in Qatar on a private plane.
US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad wrote on his Twitter account: “Just finished a working lunch with Mullah Baradar and his team. First time we have met and now moving on to talks.”
Baradar, head of Taliban’s political council, was freed by Pakistani authorities last year. The US and Afghan government had demanded his release.
The Qatari foreign minister had sent a special plane that took Baradar and three other senior members of their political council to Doha.
While participating in the introductory meeting, Baradar reportedly underlined the imperative of peace talks to find a negotiated end to the Afghan conflict.
Prisoner swap and lifting of a travel ban on senior Taliban leaders are also expected to figure at the meeting.
“The path to peace doesn’t often run in a straight line. The situation in Afghanistan is complex and like all sensitive talks, not everything is conducted in public…” Khalilzad tweeted.
He claimed the two sides had made significant progress on two vital issues -- counter terrorism and a troop withdrawal.
“That doesn't mean we're done. We're not even finished with these issues yet, and there is still work to be done on other vital issues like intra-Afghan dialogue and a complete ceasefire,” Khalilzad said. (Pajhwok)