Taliban restart secret talks with
Afghanistan in Qatar: report
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[October 18, 2016]
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - The Taliban
and the Afghan government restarted secret peace talks in September and
have held two rounds of discussions in Qatar, Britain's Guardian
newspaper reported on Tuesday, citing anonymous sources.
Citing a Taliban official, the Guardian said a senior American diplomat
was present at the meetings in Qatar, where the Islamist group has a
The newspaper said the talks were attended also by Mullah Abdul Manan,
the brother of Afghan Taliban founder, Mullah Mohammad Omar, who died in
Officials in Kabul could not be immediately reached for comment.
Previous Pakistan-brokered peace talks yielded little progress and
ground to a complete halt when the United States killed former Taliban
leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour in a drone strike in Pakistan in May.
Under new Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhundzada fighting has raged
across Afghanistan during the summer months, with the Taliban attacking
the northern city of Kunduz and threatening Helmand's provincial capital
No Pakistani official took part in the latest talks, according to the
Relations between the governments in Kabul and Islamabad have
deteriorated over the past year, with Afghanistan and the United States
alleging Pakistan harbors the Taliban and was not doing enough to bring
the group to the negotiating table.
Pakistan denies providing the Taliban a safe haven.
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Taliban new leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada is seen in an
undated photograph, posted on a Taliban twitter feed on May 25,
2016, and identified separately by several Taliban officials, who
declined be named. Social Media/File Photo
The Taliban have gathered strength over the past two years, carrying
out major attacks in Kabul and taking over swaths of territory for
the first time since being ousted during the 2001 U.S.-led military
The United States has continued to provide air power and other
military support to Kabul, preventing the Taliban from making more
(Writing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)
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