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Khalilzad sounds upbeat note on chances for intra-Afghan peace talks

01 Jun 2020 Reuters

FILE PHOTO: U.S. envoy for peace in Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad speaks during a debate at Tolo TV channel in Kabul, Afghanistan April 28, 2019. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Recent prisoner releases and a relatively low level of violence may bode well for the start of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said on Monday.

“We are in a good place,” Khalilzad told reporters, saying the Afghan government had released 2,400 to 2,500 Taliban prisoners since Feb. 29 and the militant group has freed more than 400 detainees in return. “We’ll have challenges and difficulties but we are optimistic that finally we’re moving forward to the start of the intra-Afghan negotiations.”

Reporting By Arshad Mohammed and Humeyra Pamuk

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