Afghan Taliban, US officials ‘engaging in indirect talks’

US officials and former Afghan Taliban members are reportedly holding indirect talks in an attempt to progress towards peace in the war-torn country. NBC News reported.

The talks have held in a host of avenues including Afghanistan, Qatar and United Arab Emirates (UAE), according to the Taliban sources.

The negotiations are an attempt to put an end to the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan between the two sides.

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Speaking to the news outlet, a negotiator from the Taliban said their delegations had never been joined by more than five Americans for talks before, with the latest set of meetings taking place in hotel suites in Doha.

The Doha meeting participants described the meetings as “very friendly” with “tea and cookies” being served during the course of the meeting.

The US Department of State has not confirmed any meetings to have taken place, but added that all avenues to advance the peace process were being explored.

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A Taliban commander also said that in an interview that a meeting took place earlier this month in the UAE.

The negotiators from the Taliban described the security as being “very tight” with even the hotel staff not allowed to enter.

While steps are being taken by the Taliban officials to step up their own security as well, in order to not be identified by the intelligence services in Russia, China and Arab countries.

These include, precautions such as not going to the hotel together and using alternate methods like not gathering at a single place, using elevators and stairs simultaneously in the hotel.

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The hotels were reportedly chosen as an avenue for the meetings  because the Taliban and US officials did not trust one another.

The negotiators from the Taliban side consist of a number of commanders, political leaders and former members who meet the US officials and convey to the current Taliban leadership, their messages from the talks and the options discussed.

The US officials were also described taking “unprecedented” interest in the peace process in recent months, according to a Taliban commander.

This story originally appeared in NBC News

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