US, Taliban publicly admit ‘progress on vital issues’ in talks

US, Taliban publicly admit ‘progress on vital issues’ in talks

Washington (Web Desk): The United States and the Taliban said on Saturday they had made substantial headway in negotiations to end the 17-year US war in Afghanistan, although sticking points remained.

The two sides admitted “progress on vital issues” in their talks, albeit the insurgents said there was no agreement on ceasefire or talks with the Afghan government, which they deride as American puppet.

Zalmay Khalilzad, who was named by President Donald Trump’s administration to find a way out of the war, held negotiations with Taliban representatives at their political office in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar for six days, much longer than planned and longer than any previous attempt to end the bloody conflict.

"Meetings here were more productive than they have been in the past. We made significant progress on vital issues," Khalilzad wrote on Twitter.

"We will build on the momentum and resume talks shortly. We have a number of issues left to work out," he tweeted.

"Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, and ´everything´ must include an intra-Afghan dialogue and comprehensive ceasefire."

Subsequently, Khalilzad left the Qatari capital of Doha for consultations in Kabul.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later tweeted he had heard "encouraging news" from Khalilzad.

"The US is serious about pursuing peace, preventing #Afghanistan from continuing to be a space for international terrorism & bringing forces home," he added.

"Working with the Afghan gov´t & all interested parties, the US seeks to strengthen Afghan sovereignty, independence & prosperity."

Trump has been eager to end America´s longest war, which was launched shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Trump has already said he will pull half of the 14,000 US troops from Afghanistan.