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Taliban-American officials talks in Qatar

03 July, 2019

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DOHA: Taliban and American officials have been involved in intense discussions over the past two days to remove differences over a time-frame for withdrawal of foreign forces, sources familiar with the on-going discussions in Qatar said on Tuesday.

The seventh round started on June 29 was scheduled to continue for three days but the talks continued on fourth day on Tuesday as both sides had differences when the withdrawal should complete. Both sides continued discussions till late Monday, but could not remove differences, they said.

Taliban officials say they would try to reach an understanding on the time-table during the current sitting but it has not yet been decided. They say the US had already agreed on the withdrawal in the previous rounds and in return Taliban would assure the US that Afghanistan would not be used against the US and other countries.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, who is closely monitoring the negotiations, also visited venue of the talks. He wants the Taliban and the US ‘show flexibility in their stance’, a source said.

Meanwhile, Germany’s special representative for Afghanistan Ambassador Markus Potzel has announced that Germany and Qatar will jointly host an intra-Afghan conference in Doha on July 7-8 and that those attending “will participate only in their personal capacity and on an equal footing”.

Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen and the presidential palace in Kabul also confirmed the conference.

Afghan officials in Kabul said that a 60-member delegation would attend the talks that would also include officials, but they would participate in personal capacity.

The German envoy said in a statement that the invitations this time had been jointly issued by Germany and Qatar.

“Afghanistan stands at a critical moment of opportunity for progress toward peace,” he said, adding “Only Afghans themselves can decide the future of their country.”

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