Taliban, Afghans Fail to Agree Ceasefire

Taliban, Afghans Fail to Agree CeasefireTaliban, Afghans Fail to Agree Ceasefire

Taliban representatives met with Afghan political figures for a second day in Qatar on Sunday, and one participant said the two sides discussed a possible ceasefire but ultimately disagreed over the continued presence of US troops in the country.

The informal talks, hosted by Qatar’s foreign ministry, came as fighting escalated after the withdrawal of most US and allied troops. The Taliban recently launched an offensive in northern Afghanistan that brought its fighters to the outskirts of Kunduz city, a provincial capital, Reuters reported.

The US and Pakistan, long-regarded by critics as sympathetic to the Afghan Taliban, both welcomed the closed-door talks aimed at ending an insurgency that has raged in Afghanistan since US-backed forces drove the Taliban from power in 2001.

Participants in Sunday’s meeting in Al-Khor, a seaside town north of Doha, emerged from the venue smiling on Sunday but refused to talk to waiting reporters.

The Afghan government has made no official statement on the meetings, though a member of the country’s High Peace Council confirmed a delegation would attend meetings in Qatar with the Taliban.

The Taliban reportedly said they would not stop fighting until all foreign forces left Afghanistan, he said.