Taliban Calls Off Peace Talks In Qatar With U.S

Taliban, US to sit down to peace talks

When asked if a meeting this week between U.S. officials and the Taliban in Saudi Arabia would take place, Daudzai said, "Unless they [Taliban] agree to meet with the Afghan government face to face, that kind of meetings may be hard to be continued".

That Taliban figure also had said the group was refusing to allow what he called "puppet" Afghan officials to take part in the Doha meetings.

A Taliban source told Reuters that usa officials had insisted that the Taliban should meet Afghan officials in Qatar and said "both sides were in disagreement over declaring a ceasefire in 2019".

The Taliban terrorist organization considers itself the only legitimate government of Afghanistan, though no other nation grants it such recognition.

The two sides were due to meet for two days starting on Wednesday in Qatar where the Taliban have their embassy.

In 2017, US President Donald Trump increased the number of his country's troops in Afghanistan as part of a new strategy against the Taliban.

"We would never announce any ceasefire until and unless we achieve major gains on the ground".

But the special envoy was hopeful of a breakthrough in talks this year, "We have declared that 2019 should be the year of peace in Afghanistan".

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An aide to Iran's supreme leader said on Monday U.S. officials approached him during a December visit to Afghanistan to request talks with Tehran, Iran's semi-official Tasnim news agency reported, but the U.S. State Department denied the report.

Meanwhile, President Ashraf Ghani's Second Vice President, Mohammad Sarwar Danish, in a meeting with Wade Warren, the acting chief of the USAID said the draft agreement for peace which was prepared by the US-based RAND Corporation, impedes the efforts for peace by the Afghan government and its global partners.

The Taliban said Khalilzad would visit the United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and China to continue the discussion. The meeting was held after Taliban officials met with Iranian authorities in Tehran. As peace talks gain momentum a draft agreement drawn up by the influential United States think tank RAND Corporation outlining the clauses for a potential peace deal has been circulated among Afghan officials and diplomats in Kabul. "But if that leadership of the Afghan state is not recognized and is not given value, then we may face a serious challenge", he added.

The Afghan parties may invite the global community to form a small, limited "Afghanistan Support Team" focused exclusively on counter-terrorism, it suggests.

The document, reviewed by Reuters, suggests that the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation withdraw their military missions in phases over an expected period of 18 months.

Majority-Shi'ite Iran has long had close ties to Shi'ites in neighboring Afghanistan whose militias have fought the Taliban's Sunni militants.

The Taliban have so far refused direct talks with the Kabul government which they see as an illegitimate, foreign-appointed regime, and consider their main adversary to be the USA, which invaded the country in 2001 and toppled their rule. It has cost Washington almost a trillion dollars and killed tens of thousands of people. "I don't think it has great impact because we have now fully developed the Afghan National Security Forces that is between 350, 000 to 400, 000 [troops]", he said.

The United States sent troops to Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001, attacks on NY and Washington.

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