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US-Taliban to enter Seventh Round of Talks in Doha

The United States and Taliban negotiators are all set to enter the seventh round of talks in Doha on Saturday, with the agenda of finalizing a draft agreement on the timeline of troop withdrawal and an intra-Afghan dialogue.

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News Desk |

The United States and Taliban are all set to enter a new round of peace talks on Saturday 29th June, as part of Washington’s efforts to broker a peace deal and bring an end to the 18-year long conflict.

The US and Taliban seek to conclude the final arguments and draft the text of the deal, which would focus on addressing major issues, such as a durable ceasefire, intra-Afghan dialogue and withdrawal of the US forces from Afghan soil.

US Special Envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, had confirmed the new round of talks in a tweet, stating, “Based on my recent visits to Afghanistan and Qatar, I believe all sides want rapid progress.”

Sohail Shaheen, spokesperson for the Taliban’s political office in Doha, had said, earlier this week, that the two sides can discuss the timeline of troop withdrawal and move forward with the talks simultaneously.

US and the Taliban are set to begin their seventh round of peace talks on 29th June, Saturday in Doha. The sixth round of talks were concluded in Doha in May.

Shaheen said, “Once the timetable for foreign force withdrawal is announced, then talks will automatically enter the next stage. “We don’t need to wait for the completion of the withdrawal, both withdrawal and talks can move forward simultaneously.”

Speaking to VOA, the Taliban spokesperson had said that process was “progressing…steadily and gradually” and the Taliban hoped that the process of reconciliation can pave the way for an intra-Afghan dialogue, tracing a “roadmap for a future Islamic system and government.”

Earlier this week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Kabul, and expressed Washington’s desire for establishing a lasting peace.

Read more: Qatar to host New round of talks between the US and Taliban

Pompeo had tweeted, “Afghanistan has come far in the last 18 years. Afghans yearn for peace and we share their desire to end the conflict. Peace would offer Afghans and the wider region a different future, one which we are ready to support.”

A day after US Secretary of State Pompeo’s visit to Kabul, 2 US soldiers were killed in Afghanistan. The US military did not offer much detail regarding the circumstances in which they were killed, however, the Taliban claimed that its fighters killed the American soldiers in an “ambush” in the eastern Afghan province of Wardak.

US and the Taliban are set to begin their seventh round of peace talks on 29th June, Saturday in Doha. The sixth round of talks were concluded in Doha in May, however, the session failed to provide concrete results in terms of a finalized draft agreement, which is the principal focus of this round of dialogue.

Read more: US-Taliban talks: Grand Jirga to predict the future of Afghanistan

Reports reveal that the Taliban and US negotiators are expected to reach a conclusion on initiating an intra-Afghan dialogue and creating a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops in the next round, starting tomorrow.

Pakistan has reiterated its commitments to facilitating an intra-Afghan dialogue for a durable peace in Afghanistan and the region, during Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s official visit to Islamabad.

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