The U.S. special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad has met with the Taliban delegation for the second time in Qatar, following Washington’s efforts to end the 17-year war in the country.
Figures close to the Taliban said that the exchange of Taliban prisoners and having a clear mechanism for peace talks were among the issues as the two sides discussed in their meeting.
“Taliban is ready for real peace,” said Sayed Akbar Agha, a former member of the Taliban. “I believe, the foreign forces’ withdrawal and establishing a new system in Afghanistan are among the issues as the Taliban stress on it for reaching a real peace in the country,” he said.
Following the issue, Afghanistan’s High Peace Council (HPC) said that it hopes the U.S.-Taliban meetings could lead to direct talks between the Afghan government and the armed group.
“Taliban delegation directly have contacted us in Moscow as well as with Zalmay Khalilzad [in Qatar]. We hope that it could lead to a mutual understanding between the Afghan government and the Taliban,” said Qazi Amin Weqad, a member of HPC.
Some political analysts, meanwhile, said that in the U.S.- Taliban meeting indicates that both sides want to reach on a plan for Afghan peace.
“Zalmay Khalilzad is working on a peace plan and probably they have discussed on releasing some Americans who have been held by the Taliban as well as the release of Taliban prisoners who have been detained by the Afghan government,” said Nazar Mohammad Mutmayeen, a Kabul based Afghan political analyst.
This comes a week after the Moscow summit where the Taliban have asked the U.S. to set a timetable for withdrawal of their forces from Afghanistan before starting direct talks with the Afghan government.