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US, Taliban talks end for now with no Afghan peace deal

12 Mar 2019 TRT World

While progress has been made at ongoing peace talks in Qatar between the Taliban and the US, there is still no agreement over when US troops may withdraw from Afghanistan.

US and Taliban negotiators wrapped up their longest round of consecutive peace talks on Tuesday with progress made but no agreement on when foreign troops might withdraw, multiple sources said.

The 16 days of talks, in which the United States also sought assurances that Taliban insurgents will not use Afghanistan to stage attacks, are expected to resume in late March.

"Withdrawal of the foreign forces and the guarantee that Afghanistan will not be used [to attack] any other country were the only two topics of discussion," a source familiar with the meetings said.

The negotiations in Doha, Qatar included the Taliban's political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and a US negotiating team led by special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad.

Khalilzad is now expected to travel back to Washington to brief US officials, the sources said.

Around 14,000 US troops are based in Afghanistan as part of a US-led NATO mission to train, assist and advise Afghan forces. Some US forces also carry out counterterrorism operations. 

Source: AFP

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