‘Significant progress’ in US talks with Taliban to end 17-year war | World News

The US peace envoy to Afghanistan said “significant progress” was made during talks with the Taliban aimed at ending the country’s destructive 17-year war.

Zalmay Khalilzad said he was travelling to Afghanistan for more discussions after six days of meetings in Qatar.

Mr Khalilzad said on his official Twitter account: “Meetings here were more productive than they have been in the past. We made significant progress on vital issues.”

He went on to add a note of caution, saying: “We have a number of issues left to work out. Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed…”

No more detail of the talks was provided by Mr Khalilzad. There was also no indication that the Taliban would agree to a ceasefire or when the group would hold direct talks with the Afghan government.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement after the talks that the group remained unmoved in its demand that no substantive progress is possible without a troop withdrawal. He did acknowledge progress.

“This round of negotiations revolving around the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan and other vital issues saw progress; but since issues are of critical nature and need comprehensive discussions, therefore it was decided that talks about unsolved matters will resume in similar future meetings,” he said.

Last week, the Taliban threatened to walk away from talks after claiming America was seeking to “expand the agenda”.

The Taliban attacked a military base in Afghanistan earlier this month with a car bomb, killing more than 100 people including eight special commandos.

The war in Afghanistan began with the US invasion in 2001 aimed at destroying al Qaeda and removing the Taliban from power.

Approximately 30,000 civilians have died – as well as many thousands of troops.

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