KABUL (SW) – The ninth round of peace talks between the U.S. and Taliban resumed in the Qatari capital, Doha on Thursday.
The Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahes said there would a break on Friday, but talks would resume in the evening. “There will be a break in negotiations due to #Friday but talks will resume after dusk & will continue late into the night”, he tweeted.
Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, said Washington is ready for the talks. “First stop Doha where we will try and close on remaining issues. We’re ready. Let’s see if the Taliban are as well", he tweeted as he headed to Qatar’s capital late Tuesday. Following his talks in Doha, the Afghan-born diplomat is scheduled to travel to Kabul to brief Afghan government officials.
According to the Wall Street Journal, anticipation of a U.S.-Taliban deal within days is high following President Trump’s meeting on Friday with Mr. Khalilzad, U.S. cabinet members and senior American officials, during which the president was briefed on progress in the talks, which he later described as “very good.”
In comments to reporters shortly before the State Department announced Khalilzad’s return to Doha, he described the duration of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan as ridiculous and derided the current role of the roughly 14,500 American military personnel deployed here as one of “almost of a police force.”