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Mattis: Afghan Peace Process Gaining Steam

Attempts to end the 17-year-old U.S.-led war in Afghanistan are gaining traction, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis insists.“Right now we have more indications that reconciliation is no longer just a shimmer out there, no longer just a mirage. It now has some framework,” Mattis told reporters on his plane en route to India.Though he referred to “open lines of communication,” Mattis did not formally acknowledge the preliminary U.S.-Taliban talks reported to be held in Qatar. If confirmed, they would be the first direct U.S. talks with the Taliban in several years.“Reconciliation reinforced by the State Department — it’s put additional staff into the embassy with that sole effort — you’re seeing this now pick up traction,”

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