No pact struck with US: Taliban | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 20, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:20 AM, November 20, 2018

DEADLINE TO END AFGHAN WAR

No pact struck with US: Taliban

A three-day meeting between the Taliban and the US special envoy for Afghanistan to pave the way for peace talks ended with no agreement, the militant group said a day after the diplomat declared a deadline of April 2019 to end a 17-year-long war.

Afghanistan's security situation has worsened since Nato formally ended combat operations in 2014, as Taliban insurgents battle to re-impose strict Islamic law following their overthrow in 2001 at the hands of US-led troops.

Leaders of the hardline Islamist group met US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad at their political headquarters in Qatar last week for the second time in the past month, said spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid.

"These were preliminary talks and no agreement was reached on any issue," he said in a statement yesterday.

Taliban leaders had not accepted any deadline set by the US to wrap up talks, three Taliban officials added.

The US embassy in Kabul declined to comment.

Khalilzad, an Afghan-born US diplomat authorised by US President Donald Trump's government to lead peace negotiations with the Taliban, on Sunday said he hoped to cut a peace deal with the group by April 20.

That deadline coincides with the date set for presidential elections in Afghanistan.

Two senior US officials confirmed that the second round of peace talks ended last week and the Taliban expected Khalilzad to visit Qatar for a meeting before the end of 2018.

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