US To Resume Afghan Peace Process; Kabul Government Taken Into Confidence

Three months after US President Donald Trump cancelled peace talks with the Afghan Taliban after Kabul attacks,  Washington is laying the ground to resume the dialogue with the insurgent groups in Doha, Qatar.

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The progress came as US chief negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad made a surprise stopover in Kabul on Wednesday to take the Afghan government into confidence over Washington’s decision to commence the hampered peace process.

His next stop will be Doha where he will reinitiate talks with the Taliban, according to a U.S. State Department. The talks would be the first official round since September when President Donald Trump abruptly cancelled a planned meeting after Kabul attack which killed twelve people including a U.S. soldier.

Khalilzad met with several Afghan leaders, including President Ashraf Ghani, who repeated his call for a cease-fire. Khalilzad’s visit comes just days after Trump visited U.S. troops in Afghanistan for the Thanksgiving when he hinted at a resumption of peace talks with the Taliban.

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The Taliban official said the U.S. has been pressing for a cease-fire, even a temporary one during the time of an agreement signing. While there has been no formal announcement of a reduction in violence, Taliban attacks at least in the cities appear to have decreased in recent weeks.