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Taliban under increasing pressure to enter peace talks: Mattis

08 Aug 2018 1TV News

The pressure is increasing on the Taliban to enter peace talks, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said on Tuesday.

Mattis, however, said that it is “still early in this reconciliation process.”

“I will have to give you an update to date as it matures,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon.

The comments come amid reports of a secretive meeting in Qatar between a member of the U.S. State Department and the Taliban.

Mattis declined to confirm the meeting.

“I think [it] would probably be best if we left that to the State Department that leads any kind of reconciliation efforts on our part. Again, it is an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process as we work with them to bring peace to that country that’s been through enough war,” Mattis said.

Referring to the South Asia Strategy launched by President Donald Trump last year, Mattis said that the strategy has “confronted the Taliban with a reason to go to ceasefires that President Ghani has led and offered to go into discussions.”

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