Taliban 'Optimistic' About Dialogue With US on Afghan Peace

The U.S. special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, has held another round of marathon discussions with Qatar-based Taliban officials to push for a politically negotiated settlement to the 17-year war.Khalilzad's three days of meetings with the Islamist insurgency concluded on Friday and both sides were "optimistic about the dialogue process," multiple Taliban sources said Saturday.Neither side, however, has officially confirmed or released details of this week's talks in Doha, the capital of the Gulf nation, which houses the so-called "political office" of the Afghan Taliban.This was Khalilzad's second interaction with the Taliban in more than a month. The Trump administration appointed him to the office in September with the goal of bringing the Afghan government and the insurgent group to the negotiating table.Insurgent sources noted that former prisoners of the U.S. Guantanamo Bay detention center, Mullah Fazal and Mullah Khairkhaw, also joined the Taliban delegation in talks with the U.S. team.


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