Longest US-Taliban peace talks see 'progress' in Qatar

Longest US-Taliban peace talks see 'progress' in Qatar

DOHA- The Associated Press
Longest US-Taliban peace talks see progress in Qatar

The longest peace talks between the U.S. and the Taliban to end America's 17-year war in Afghanistan concluded on March 12 in Qatar, with both sides saying progress had been made.

The nearly two weeks of talks produced two draft agreements between the militants and the U.S. government on a "withdrawal timeline and effective counterterrorism measures," American envoy Zalmay Khalilzad wrote on Twitter.

The diplomat said he'd go to Washington and meet with other concerned parties, likely including the Afghan government, which did not take part in the 13 days of face-to-face talks in Doha, the Qatari capital.

"The conditions for #peace have improved," Khalilzad wrote. "It's clear all sides want to end the war. Despite ups and downs, we kept things on track and made real strides."

The Taliban issued their own statement, similarly saying "progress was achieved" on both of those issues. It stressed no cease-fire deal had been reached, nor any agreement for it to speak to the Afghan government.

It wasn't immediately clear when the next round of talks would begin.

The Taliban, who had harbored al-Qaida and its leader, bin Laden, ruled Afghanistan before U.S. forces invaded in October 2001, following the 9/11 attacks. The Taliban have made a major comeback in recent years, and today carry out near-daily attacks on Afghan security forces. That has made a peace process even more pressing and President Donald Trump has expressed frustration at the protracted conflict.

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