Zalmay Khalilzad Meets With Taliban Officials In Doha

Leroy Wright
October 16, 2018

"There are a number of wounded people in critical condition", he said.

A bomb Saturday that targeted a parliamentary election rally for a woman running for office in northeastern Afghanistan killed at least 14 people, according to a local official.

Adeb Hamra, a local resident, said in a telephone interview that the district government hospital has only four doctors and was overwhelmed with dead and wounded, majority in critical condition.

On Saturday, a motorcycle bomber struck a rally for Nazifa Yousufi Bek, a candidate in the northern province of Takhar. "And the U.S. willingness, with approval from Kabul, to speak directly with the Taliban means that a key Taliban precondition has been met", Mr Kugelman said.

Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Both sides "agreed to continue such meetings".

A wave of attacks by the Taliban and the Daesh in recent months, however, has poured cold water on the nascent optimism for peace.

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The Taliban captured 11 soldiers and seized their weapons, added Gul Ahmad Faqiri, a member of the Farah provincial council.

The meeting Friday between the USA diplomat, Zalmay Khalilzad, and the Taliban was the second that senior US officials have had with Taliban representatives in Qatar since the Trump administration ordered direct talks this summer in the hopes of jump-starting the peace process.

In exchange, the Taliban want the Afghan government to release fighters from jails across the country and the swift removal of foreign forces fighting alongside Afghan troops. "This is something that will be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, but supported by the US government", she said.

When he was appointed earlier this month, the U.S. State Department said Khalilzad's job was to find a peaceful end to a war that began more than 17 years ago and that has cost Washington in the neighborhood of $900 billion, according to a report earlier this year from a U.S Congress appointed watchdog.

A senior official working with the Afghan president said Khalilzad had briefed Ghani about his meetings with senior ministers and top diplomats in four countries who could play a key role.

Since Khalilzad last visited Kabul on October 4, his tour has taken him to Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.

The U.S. embassy, in a Saturday statement, said Khalilzad returned to Kabul for "follow-up" meetings with the Afghan leadership and civil society representatives to hear their "views and priorities" on a settlement to the conflict.

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