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9th round of US, Taliban peace talks began in Qatar

According to a Taliban’s mouthpiece, the two sides started their latest and ninth round of talks in Doha late Thursday.

Ahead of his talks with the Taliban, US special envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad met with Qatari leaders.

The source said decisive talks were expected this time as both the sides had concluded consulting their respective leaders on contentious points in the negotiations.

The Taliban spokespersonsaid the Islamic Emirate’s negotiating team was led by Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai and the American side was led by Khalilzad. He said NATO RS mission commander Scott Miller was also present at the talks.

Taliban’s Qatar office spokesman Sohail Shaheen also said the talks would resume late Friday evening to discuss issues which could not be addressed in the previous meetings.

Khalilzad after concluding the eighth round of talks with the Taliban in Doha on August12 left for India and then travelled to Germany and Norway before returning to Washington.

The two sides are expected to reach an agreement in this latest round of talks as Khalilzad had earlier tweeted: “Productive week in Washington. Briefed management on where we are and next steps. Back on the road again. First stop Doha where will try and close on remaining issues. We’re ready. Lets’ see if the Taliban are as well.”

It is said a week after the agreement between the US and the Taliban, Norway will host intra-Afghan talks between the rebels and the Afghan government.