US, Afghan Taliban holds key meeting in Doha

Alice Wells the US's top diplomat for South Asia

Alice Wells the US's top diplomat for South Asia

A senior representative of the Taliban said that the leaders of the movement for the first time held direct talks with us officials.

On the American side, the meeting was attended Alice wells, senior diplomat of the USA government in South Asia, the AP reports.

But the USA government is playing down the idea that any peace talks took place. It was long realised by the United States that the Afghanistan war can only have a political solution.

"The discussion was preliminary, initial and both discussed a future meeting and contacts", said the Taliban official.

It wasn't clear when the next meeting would be held or with whom, but he was certain one would be held. They added that there were "very positive signals" from the meeting, and that it was held in a "friendly atmosphere".

A previous attempt at direct talks between Washington and the Taleban in 2013 also in Doha, was scuttled when then-Afghan President Hamid Karzai objected to the Taleban calling its office the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the name of its government, and flying the flag the movement flew when they ruled Afghanistan.

This was particularly significant in that the Taliban officials in Doha were willing to confirm that the meeting had happened at all, and spoke favorably about future meetings.

Taliban's five-year rule over at least three quarters of Afghanistan came to an end when the US and its allies invaded the Asian country on October 7, 2001 as part of Washington's so-called war on terror.

During the Taliban's five-year rule that ended with the 2001 US-led invasion, leader Mullah Mohammed Omar said regardless of whatever concessions they agreed to, including allowing girls to attend school, it would not gain them global recognition as long as the USA refused to accept them.

Not all of the roughly 14,000 United States troops now in Afghanistan have pulled back to cities.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, right, speaks during, a press conference with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

British ambassador to Afghanistan Sir Nicholas Kay said on Sunday the British government supports all efforts to get the Taliban to the negotiation tables. The Taliban have long-awaited direct talks with the United States as a precondition to discuss their security concerns and the future of Afghanistan.

The Times reported earlier this month that the Trump administration urged its top diplomats to seek direct talks with the Taliban to rekindle negotiations to end the war.

A former Taleban minister and ex-head of their political committee, Aga Jan Mohtism, who has maintained close contacts with the insurgent group, also confirmed a meeting in Doha between USA officials and the Taleban took place earlier this week.

Some 3,550 global coalition troops, including 2,413 Americans, have died in Afghanistan since the invasion in 2001.

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