The US has said the ongoing negotiations with the Taliban are focused on four interconnected issues, including counterterrorism and troop withdrawal, that will be key for any future agreement to end the 17-year war in Afghanistan.
A high-powered American delegation led by Special US Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad has been holding marathon meetings in Doha, Qatar with a high-level Taliban team led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.
The talks have been going on for several days to finalise a draft agreement on a potential foreign troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and to end the 17-year war in the country.
“These discussions are ongoing, and what they’re focusing on are the four interconnected issues that are going to compose any future agreement, and those four (issues) are counterterrorism, troop withdrawal, intra-Afghan dialogue and a ceasefire,” State Department Spokesperson Robert Palladino told reporters at his biweekly news conference on Monday.
Responding to a question, Palladino said talks were going on and more work needs to be done.
“We’re focused on this. We have private diplomatic conversations that are occurring, and we want to give all the parties time to work out these issues. Special Representative Khalilzad is engaging on this on a daily basis right now, and progress is being made,” he said.
Since his appointment in September, Afghanistan-born Khalilzad has met with all sides in an attempt to end America’s longest war in which the US has lost over 2,400 soldiers in more than 17 years.
The Taliban control nearly half of Afghanistan, and are more powerful now than they were at any time since the 2001 US-led invasion after the 9/11 terror attacks.
The US has continued to push for a ceasefire in the war-torn country and the opening of negotiations between the Taliban and the Kabul government.