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Taliban, US to resume Afghan peace talks next week - Source

Taliban, US to resume Afghan peace talks next week - Source

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 20 Jul 2019, 05:31 pm

Moscow, July 20 (Sputnik/UNI) The Taliban movement and US officials are scheduled to resume Afghan peace talks next week amid a surge in violence across Afghanistan, a source close to the Taliban told Sputnik.

"The talks between the sides may resume on July 24 or 25, with a deep focus on troop withdrawal," a source close to the Taliban, told Sputnik.

The seventh round of US and Taliban talks this month in Qatar was followed by all-Afghan talks where the two Afghan rivals agreed on a roadmap for start of negotiations.

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, who is leading the talks, has made several visits to various countries, including Russia, China and Pakistan, in an attempt to increase support for the process. On Friday, he met with ambassadors of India and Germany to the United States and foreign minister of Uzbekistan to discuss the peace process ahead of the peace talks.

The talks have mainly so far been focused on troop withdrawal, the Taliban's main demand for peace deal. According to Taliban source, the main disagreement between the sides is the terms of the withdrawal.

"There has been no agreement so far, the US wants withdrawal in two years, and the Taliban still emphasis on six months, I think the Taliban have not increased the duration," Taliban source told Sputnik.

The US and Taliban talks have simultaneously followed by a surge in violence in the country that has so far killed or wounded hundreds of people. In the most recent bombing, eight people have been killed and 33 others – mostly civilians – were wounded close at the entrance of Kabul University in the capital Kabul Friday. The Taliban rejected responsibility for the attack.

On Thursday, at least 10 people were killed and more than 90 wounded in an attack on police headquarters in the city of Kandahar.

"I think the next round of talks may not reach a breakthrough and it will be cold because the Taliban opposes even a single foreign troop presence, while the US wants to leave an intelligence establishment in Afghanistan," former Taliban commander Syed Akbar Agha told Sputnik.

Afghanistan is suffering from an unstable political, social and security situation due to the activity of the Taliban movement and the Islamic State terrorist group (banned in Russia). While the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces are conducting joint offensive operations to combat terrorism across the country, Kabul and the Taliban are trying to launch reconciliation talks.  

Taliban, US to resume Afghan peace talks next week - Source

India Blooms News Service
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