U.S. likely agreed to set timetable for troops withdrawal – HPC

Afghanistan High Peace Council (HPC) says the United States has probably reached on an agreement to set a timetable for withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan, following the peace talks with Taliban delegation in Qatar.

According to HPC, the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan, the release of Taliban prisoners, and removal of some Taliban figures from the UN blacklist are the key conditions of the armed group for entering into peace talks with the Afghan government.

Haji Din Mohammad, the Deputy Head of HPC said that they have met with the Taliban delegation on the sidelines of the recent Moscow summit and that the Taliban has shown the intent to end the ongoing war.

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U.S. mulls pressing Afghan government to suspend presidential elections

The Trump administration mulls pressing the Afghan government to suspend the presidential elections as Washington seeks to engage the Taliban in peace talks, it has been reported.

The issue of the suspension of April-2019 elections was raised by the U.S. Special Adviser for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, sources privy of the development have told The Wall Street Journal.

However, the Office of Ambassador Khalilzad has declined ot comment in this regard.

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MPs: U.S. not honest with Afghanistan

A number of Parliament Members at the Lower House said the United States was not honest in its commitments to end war in Afghanistan.

Afghan lawmakers reemphasized to review the Bilateral Security Agreement with U.S. to show how U.S. fulfilled its commitments to Afghanistan.

“The Lower House should not change its decision over reviewing the security pact with U.S. and the United States should respond to Afghan people about its performances,” Rahman Rahmani, representative of Balkh said.

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Pentagon sees signs of improvement with Taliban

A senior official of the US Defense Department has said that signs of improvement have been seen in talks with the Taliban as he addressed a debate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Randall Schriver, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, said at the debate that Taliban can be part of a stable political future.

He said one of the main points of the talks between the US and India defense secretaries would be ways to find a solution for the Afghanistan crisis.

“We are seeing some signs that a political process is moving. President (Ashraf) Ghani is pursuing another ceasefire and we will see if the Taliban are going to step up to that,” he said.

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US and Saudi officials discuss Afghan government’s likely ceasefire with Taliban

The US and Saudi officials have discussed the likely announcement of ceasefire by the Afghan government with the Taliban group during Eid Al-Adha.

“Secretary Michael R. Pompeo spoke today with SAudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” the State Department said in a statement.

The statement further added that the Secretary and the Crown Prince discussed their support for a ceasefire in Afghanistan over the coming Eid, and peace in Afghanistan more broadly.

No further details were given regarding the discussion about the likely ceasefire in Afghanistan.

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‘U.S.-Taliban next round of talks to be held in Doha in Sep’

A member of Taliban group says the White House diplomacy efforts are proving successful, groundbreaking preliminary talks with the U.S. last month were “very helpful” and that another round will take place in Doha in September.

The Guardian newspaper has written that a senior member of the Taliban’s Quetta Shura told the newspaper that the first round of basic contacts “were very helpful” and “The next round will be more specific and focused on key issues.”

According to U.S. website the Daily Beast, the Taliban negotiators have shown willingness to compromise on the longstanding demand to evict all foreign troops before any negotiations with the Afghan government.

The report claimed that the Taliban could even countenance a remaining U.S. force in the country so long as it was involved in the political process that reached such an agreement.

In the meantime, Afghan political analysts say the peace talks should be accompanied by the preservation of Afghan values.

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U.S., Taliban to discuss ‘Withdrawal of American Forces’ in next meeting

A senior former member of the Taliban says the U.S. delegation and Taliban representatives are expected to discuss withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan in their next meeting.

On Sunday, Reuters reported that a meeting has taken place between a senior U.S. diplomat and Taliban representatives in Doha, capital of Qatar which ended with very positive signals.

According to the report, the meeting has happened between a U.S. delegation led by Alice Wells, deputy assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, and Taliban representatives in a hotel in Doha, last week.

The report noted that the talks had been held without the presence of Afghan government officials.

Citing a Taliban official, Reuters also said that the talks took place with the approval of the leadership council. The two sides had discussed proposals to allow the Taliban free movement in two provinces where they would not be attacked, an idea that President Ashraf Ghani has already rejected. They also discussed Taliban participation in the Afghan government.”

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Top US envoy met with Taliban officials in Qatar to explore ways for peace talks

A delegation of US officials led by Ambassador Alice Wells, the State Department’s deputy assistant secretary for South and Central Asia, met with the Taliban officials in Qatar to explore ways for the revival of Afghan-led peace talks, it has been reported.

Sources privy of the development have told The Wall Street Journal that the top U.S. envoy for South Asia met with Taliban officials this week to discuss ways to lay the groundwork for peace talks.

The sources have further added that the aim of the discussion was to build on momentum created by a recent three-day cease-fire that offered Afghans a tantalizing taste of peace after decades of war, these people said.

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U.S. ready for direct talks with Taliban, Nicholson says

The United States is ready to join direct negotiations with the Taliban in an effort to end the 17 year-long war in Afghanistan, the top U.S. commander General John Nicholson, said on Monday.

The comment follows increased diplomatic efforts to seek talks following unprecedented scenes of unarmed Taliban fighters mingling with Afghan security forces on the streets of Kabul and other cities during last month’s surprise ceasefire.

Nicholson, who leads the NATO-led Resolute Support mission said the United States recognised it had a key role to play.

“Our Secretary of State, Mr (Mike) Pompeo, has said that we, the United States, are ready to talk to the Taliban and discuss the role of international forces,” he said.

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US rules out direct negotiations with the Taliban group

Ambassador Alice Wells, the senior bureau official for South and Central Asian Affairs, has said the United States government is prepared to support, facilitate, and participate in direct negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

In an official testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday, Ambassador Wells said “Our desired outcomes for any peace process are clear and have not changed. The Taliban must renounce violence, break ties with al-Qaida, and accept the Afghan Constitution – including its protections for women and minorities.”

“There have been signs that the Taliban’s Pakistan-based leaders are debating the merits of joining a peace process; however, the group has not responded to President Ghani’s offer of unconditional talks,” she added.

This comes as the Taliban group leadership has been emphasizing on direct talks with the US officials in a bid to end the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan.

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