The US State Department has already said its peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad will visit Doha this month to meet the Taliban. File photo/ AFP
American and Taliban officials are meeting on Wednesday in Qatar to resume talks aimed at ending a 17-year war in Afghanistan, a Taliban official said.
“We are expecting the meeting to start in the next two hours as the US delegation has already arrived,” Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, told Reuters.
Ghani said the message of the five-day gathering was clear: “Afghans want peace” and offered a ceasefire, though he stressed it would not be unilateral. In the statement on Friday, the Taliban rejected a ceasefire, saying attacks will continue during Ramadan but said “fighters are very careful of civilians during any operation.”
A fresh round of talks between the US and the Taliban is to begin in Qatar, just days after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington is hoping for an Afghan peace agreement before Sept.1.
President Ashraf Ghani hopes to showcase unity at the four-day meeting — known as Loya Jirga — that brings together politicians, tribal elders and others.
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"Both sides have decided to defer the visit to a mutually convenient date in the near future," Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said in a statement.