U.S. reports 'progress' in peace talks with Taliban
CGTN

Peace talks between the U.S. and the Taliban in Qatar have yielded progress, but much remains to be done, the State Department said Tuesday.

Washington's envoy Zalmay Khalilzad resumed negotiations on February 25, part of a months-long push to end the war in Afghanistan, America's longest-running conflict which has been raging since shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks against the U.S.

Read more: U.S., Taliban talk troop withdrawal, counter-terrorism at peace talks

Despite a two-day break before the weekend, negotiations continue on "a daily basis right now and progress is being made," spokesman Robert Palladino told journalists.

A Taliban spokesman also said Sunday that the talks were progressing "on a step-by-step basis."

Qatari officials (C) taking part in meeting between U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad (2nd-L), and the U.S. delegation, and Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai (6th-R), and the Taliban delegation, in Doha, February 26, 2019. /VCG Photo

Qatari officials (C) taking part in meeting between U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad (2nd-L), and the U.S. delegation, and Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai (6th-R), and the Taliban delegation, in Doha, February 26, 2019. /VCG Photo

"These discussions are ongoing and what we're focusing on are the four interconnected issues that are going to compose any future agreement," said Palladino, namely "troop withdrawal," "intra-Afghan dialogue" and "ceasefire."

Initially, Khalilzad was to return to Washington on February 28, but discussions have continued. "I wouldn't go so far as saying open-ended, but this is the nature of diplomacy: opportunities present themselves, we change course, we correct,"

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during an exchange with high school students in Iowa that he hoped sufficient gains would be made for him to be able to take a trip to help advance the negotiations "in a couple of weeks."

(Cover: U.S. Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad participates in a discussion on "The Prospects for Peace in Afghanistan" at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington, DC, February 8, 2019. /VCG Photo)

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Source(s): AFP