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  • Members of the Taliban delegation take their seats during the multilateral peace talks on Afghanistan in Moscow, Nov. 9, 2018.

    Members of the Taliban delegation take their seats during the multilateral peace talks on Afghanistan in Moscow, Nov. 9, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 8 December 2019

The new developments come after the U.S. Special Envoy for Afghanistan Zalmai Khalilzad arrived on Wednesday in Kabul for a two-day visit with leaders on both sides of the conflict.

The United States government has resumed talks with the Taliban in Qatar, three months after President Donald Trump abruptly halted negotiations with the insurgents, a U.S. source told the AFP Saturday. 

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"The US rejoined talks today in Doha. The focus of discussion will be the reduction of violence that leads to intra-Afghan negotiations and a ceasefire," the source told the AFP news agency.

On Nov. 27 the chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff Army General Mark Milley suggested that the chances of a successful outcome from peace talks on ending the 18-year war in Afghanistan were higher than before and could happen in the “near term.”

But the new developments come after the U.S. Special Envoy for Afghanistan Zalmai Khalilzad arrived on Wednesday in Kabul for two-day to launch an "accelerated effort" to get leaders on both sides of the conflict to the negotiating table.

During his visit, the top diplomat met with Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani and other Afghan leaders to follow up on Trump’s Nov. 28 top-secret visit to U.S. troops in the war-torn nation.

However, tensions continue to escalate in the country due to the political crisis caused by delayed election results from the Sept. 28 poll. No clear date has been set to release results, and opposition candidate Abdullah Abdullah has threatened to reject any result announced by the election body. 

Yet hopes for peace talks were revied on Nov. 19 as the Afghan Taliban released two U.S. and one Australian university professors held hostage for more than three years. 

Talks between the Taliban and the U.S. aimed at ending the war collapsed on Sept. 7 as President Donald Trump decided to unilaterally cancel talks with Afghanistan’s Taliban leaders after the group claimed the attack in Kabul that killed a U.S. soldier and 11 civilians, despite already having already reached a draft peace deal between the Taliban and the U.S.

The insurgents denounced that an agreement had been “finalized” and that discussions had ended in “a good atmosphere,” but the deal had been sabotaged by Trump.

While the U.S. military said that it had quietly reduced the number of troops by about 2,000, to bring the total number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan to between 12,000 and 13,000.

Afghanistan continues to be Washington’s longest conflict in its history. It was started after the Sept. 11 attacks in New York City when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan as part of the so-called "war on terror" to dismantle Al-Qaeda by removing the Taliban from power. 

Almost US$975 billion has been spent and approximately 220,000 people have died.

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