Doha talks with Taliban productive: Khalilzad


US diplomat and the Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad on Thursday said that the talks with Afghan Taliban representatives in Doha were productive and that they would resume on Saturday after a brief break of two days.

“We continue to take slow, steady steps toward understanding and eventually peace,” Khalizad said.

He said that all four key issues remain on the table.

“As talks continue in Doha, there is also progress on forming a national team in Kabul ready to engage in intra-Afghan dialogue and talks with the Taliban,” Khalilzad said.

Meanwhile, peace talks between the Taliban and the United States in Qatar capital have been paused for two days for consultation purposes.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Afghan reconciliation group, said that their representatives discussed the method of foreign troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan and preventing the country from being used against others over the last two days, 1tvnews reported.

The fifth round of US-Taliban talks in Doha is seen as the most promising yet between the parties after the Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who was recently pointed the political chief, joined for the first time, after being released from a Pakistan jail.

US commander of international forces in Afghanistan, John Nicholson, was also present in US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad’s meeting with Baradar in Doha on Monday.

Mujahid said that Baradar clarified the policy of Taliban regarding foreign forces withdrawal and “changing situation of Afghanistan while emphasizing our committed to the current peace process along with peace and establishment of an Islamic system in Afghanistan.”

Presently, around 14,000 US troops are based in Afghanistan.

The US is pushing for the Taliban to meet with the Afghan government, which the group has so far refused to accept, and to agree to a ceasefire ahead of its annual spring offensive, Reuters reported.