The US reopened its stalled peace talks with the Taliban Saturday - the first direct meeting to end fighting in Afghanistan since President Trump pulled the plug on a secret summit at Camp David in September.
The talks will initially focus on getting a Taliban promise to reduce violence, with a permanent cease-fire being the eventual goal, said a US statement.
In a nod to concerns raised by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, the State Department voiced support for a ceasefire - a key priority for Kabul before it enters negotiations with the Islamist insurgents.
The Taliban on Saturday resumed formal peace talks with the U.S.in the Qatari capital, Doha, the group confirmed in a statement. They were coming to the United States tonight.
To head off a conflict Washington stepped in and forced the two leading candidates - Ghani and Abdullah - to share power in a so-called Unity Government that has been largely paralyzed because of the relentless bickering between the two leaders.
The thorny issue of a cease-fire is set to dominate renewed talks between the USA and Taliban for a proposed peace deal in Afghanistan, analysts and officials told Anadolu Agency. USA peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad held on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019 the first official talks with Afghanistan's Taliban since last September when President Donald Trump declared a near-certain peace deal with the insurgents dead.
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Hook voiced pride that the protesters have targeted Iran's "corrupt religious mafia" and not the United States and its sanctions. Relations between the USA and Iran reached a new low this week with further sanctions slapped on Tehran .
The Taliban have until now refused to negotiate with the Afghan government, which they consider an illegitimate regime. Presidential polls on September 28 again ended in accusations of misconduct, with no results yet announced.
Repeat leading contender Abdullah has challenged the recounting of several hundred thousand ballots, accusing his opponent Ghani of trying to manipulate the tally.
During a surprise visit to a U.S. military base in Afghanistan last week, Trump said the Taliban "wants to make a deal".
Meanwhile, the USA military in its daily report said overnight on Saturday that United States air attacks killed 37 members of the armed group and operations by the Afghan National Security Forces killed 22 other rebels.
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.
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