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Taliban-US officials postponed talks for two days in Qatar

05 July, 2019

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QATAR: The Taliban and American officials on Thursday postponed talks for two days as both sides failed to remove differences over time-frame for the withdrawal of the foreign forces, sources in Qatar said.

Taliban officials insist most of the issues have been resolved; however, differences remain as to when the US and its NATO allies pull out their troops.

The seventh round of talks started on June 29 and was scheduled to continue for three days but continued on 6th day on Thursday but both sides failed to reach an agreement on timetable. The talks will resume on Saturday, a source said.

Taliban will sit face-to-face government’s representatives in the conference for the first time in the intra-Afghan conference; however, they will participate in personal capacity.

Meanwhile the Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal evaded comments on statement by Naeemul Haq, a close aide of Prime Minister Imran Khan that a delegation of the Afghan Taliban will meet the prime minister soon.

“I cannot comment on the visit of Afghan leaders to Pakistan. However, Pakistan has played a pivotal role in facilitating and taking forward the peace process. We are doing this in good faith and as a shared responsibility,” Faisal said at his weekly briefing.

He said the ultimate decision regarding political settlement is in the hands of Afghan people and Pakistan would continue stressing the need for an Afghan-led and an Afghan- owned peace process. We hope that these talks could ultimately lead to the result oriented intra-Afghan dialogue.

Special Assistant to the prime minister Naeemul Haq said in reported comments that Prime Minister Imran Khan will soon receive Afghan Taliban leaders to discuss peaceful solution to the Afghan conflict.

He said the Afghan government has also shown its consent to the proposed meeting.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan will meet the Taliban leader soon for the peaceful resolution of Afghan crisis,” he said while addressing a conference on Changing Regional Situation and Role of Pakistan in the capital Islamabad on Wednesday.

Naeemul Haq said Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s recent visit helped building up confidence between the two states, curbing smuggling and resolving refugees’ issues.

Earlier Taliban had announced to meet Prime Minister Khan in February but the meeting was postponed after the Afghan government raised objections at the meeting.

Pakistan hosted senior Afghan political leaders at a peace conference at the scenic town of Bhurban near Islamabad last month as part of the country’s efforts to promote political solution to the Afghan problem.

Afghan President Ghani also visited Pakistan on June 27-28 during which Pakistan reiterated support for intra-Afghan talks.

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