US - Afghan Taliban peace talks in Qatar: New surprise development reported

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US - Afghan Taliban peace talks in Qatar: New surprise development reported

KABUL - New surprise development has been reported in the peace talks between Afghan Taliban and United States in Qatar.

In a surprise move, the two-day talks between the United States and Taliban officials this week continued for the third day on Wednesday, reportedly due to discussions around a possible ceasefire, Khaama Press has reported.

According to sources close to the Taliban, the Doha talks were extended as delegates reportedly discussed the possibility of a ceasefire.

However, it is unclear at this stage whether the talks will continue Thursday or whether the two sides wrapped up their discussions on Wednesday.

The Afghan government, which has not attended the talks, meanwhile said the Taliban needs to speak to Kabul’s peace negotiating team directly, as the final decision on a ceasefire would be made by the government of Afghanistan.

“At the end of the day, when the (direct) talks begin, any decision would be made by government’s negotiating team,” said Omid Maisam, spokesman for Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.

A former commander of the Taliban, Sayed Akbar Agha, said the ongoing talks have raised hopes of a peace agreement.

“The continuity of the meeting shows that there is willingness in the talks,” he said.

Analysts meanwhile said Taliban were discussing other issues in the talks and not the issue of a ceasefire.

The issue of the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan has reportedly been one of the key topics of discussion during four rounds of talks between the two sides – the US and the Taliban.

Analysts also said attacks by Taliban are carried out to give the group an upper hand in the talks with US representatives.