Latest US-Taliban talks end, both sides to consult: Taliban

Washington has been negotiating with the Taliban over the past year for a pact that would see the Pentagon begin to withdraw its 14,000 troops from Afghanistan

But the United States is pushing for Taliban agreement on two other, more far-reaching elements: power-sharing talks with Afghanistan's USA -backed government and a ceasefire.

"We prolonged our meeting with the hope of reaching a peace agreement but it could not happen", said a member of the Taliban negotiating team in Qatar. Leaders on all sides of the war in Afghanistan must take this to heart as we strive for peace.

"Our future can not be decided outside, whether in the capital cities of our friends, nemeses or neighbors". The fate of Afghanistan will be decided here in this homeland. "We don't want anyone to intervene in our affairs".

The US and the Taliban are expected to agree on the withdrawal of some 20,000 US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops in return for Taliban assurances that Afghanistan would not be a base for other extremist groups.

Taliban member Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwah recently said that the USA and Taliban negotiators were likely to sign a peace agreement after the Eid celebrations, which will conclude on August 13, according to Afghan media outlet Tolo News.

Ghani, who is seeking re-election, maintains the U.S. -Taliban peace talks should not come in the way of the September election, insisting an elected government is better placed to negotiate peace with the insurgents to end decades of hostilities in Afghanistan.

No major violence was reported in Afghanistan on Sunday.

More news: Muslims across the globe celebrate Eid al-Adha

The Taliban stage near-daily attacks across Afghanistan, mainly targeting Afghan forces and government officials but also killing many civilians.

The Taliban control roughly half of Afghanistan and are at their strongest since the US-led invasion toppled their five-year-old government in 2001 after the group had harbored Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

More than 2,400 U.S. service members have died in Afghanistan since then.

Ghani, stung by being excluded from the peace talks, on Sunday pleaded for national unity.

The U.S. envoy for Afghan peace Zalmay Khalilzad has expressed hopes that this will be the last Eid where Afghanistan is at war.

"After so many years of conflict here in Afghanistan, we now see the prospect to make real progress toward to a settlement that will bring peace", US Ambassador to Afghanistan John Bass said in an Eid message to Afghans.

A group of Balkh residents at a rally in Mazar-e-Sharif city on the first day of Eid called on the Afghan government to accelerate the peace process.

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