Sunday, 19 August, 2018

Meeting with U.S. official ended with positive signals: Taliban

Alice Wells the US's top diplomat for South Asia Alice Wells the US's top diplomat for South Asia
Ebony Burgess | 30 July, 2018, 22:49

The meeting involved Wells and other senior USA diplomats, one of the Taliban officials said, and emphasized that direct talks with us officials, in person and without the presence of Afghan officials or ministers, were a demand of the insurgents' leadership.

"They involved several members of the Taliban political commission and Alice Wells, the State Department's senior South Asia diplomat, as well as other unidentified American diplomats", said The New York Times.

U.S. officials neither confirmed nor denied a meeting took place.

The Taleban have long demanded direct talks with Washington, saying they do not want to talk politics with the United States but instead meet face to face to discuss Washington's concerns, particularly its security concerns about the Taleban and Taleban involvement in Afghanistan's future.

"The environment was positive and the discussion was useful", the Taliban officials said on condition of anonymity.

A former minister in the Afghanistan government too confirmed the news of a meeting between the Taliban and the US.

Rudy Giuliani blasts Michael Cohen, calls former Trump fixer a 'pathological liar'
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It wasn't clear when the next meeting would be held or with whom, but the Taleban official who spoke to The AP was certain one would be held. The Times also reports this strategy will likely ensure the Taliban remains in control of vast stretches of the countrywide, where the majority of Afghans live. However, Wells was officially in Doha last week. The Taliban insists the USA, and not the Afghan government, has the authority to determine a timetable for all American and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops to withdraw from Afghanistan.

They also said they want a time frame for the withdrawal of the roughly 15,000 United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops still in Afghanistan.

The Afghan president's office told the Times on Saturday that it welcomes any support for peace efforts.

After fighting a war for nearly two decades, both the U.S. and the Taliban now feel that a military solution is nearly impossible.

The Times reported earlier this month that the Trump administration urged its top diplomats to seek direct talks with the Taliban to rekindle negotiations to end the war.

Some 3,550 worldwide coalition troops, including 2,413 Americans, have died in Afghanistan since the invasion in 2001.

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