The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad arrived in Doha on Friday where he will resume peace talks with Taliban negotiators soon, according to sources.
Khalilzad reached the Qatari capital on Friday after the US State Department on Wednesday announced that he would rejoin the talks “to discuss steps that could lead to intra-Afghan negotiations and a peaceful settlement to the ongoing conflict in the country”, TOLO News reported.
The sources further said that after finalizing an agreement with the US, the Taliban will commit to reducing the level of violence.
Before his arrival in Doha, Khalilzad was in Kabul for two days during which he held talks with top Afghan government officials and prominent politicians including former President Hamid Karzai.
In August, the first round of talks collapsed when US President Donald Trump denied any conversation with Afghanistan after a Taliban attack in Kabul that killed an American soldier.
During the Kabul trip, Khalilzad urged the Afghan government to step up efforts to create an inclusive delegation.
Last month, Afghanistan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani spoke to the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien in a telephonic conversation and exchanged views on the release of Haqqani leaders.
In June this year, US forces withdrawal from Afghanistan, counter-terrorism assurances, a ceasefire and direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban are the four key issues which have been under debate in the six rounds between US chief negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban members.
The peace talks have been faced with many deadlocks over the past seven months since Khalilzad started his efforts on behalf of the US government. However, the last talks in May, Khalilzad said the talks are making “slow” but “steady” progress.
According to the statistics from the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, 2018 was the deadliest year on record for the Afghan conflict, with a total of 10,993 civilian casualties, including 3,804 civilian deaths.