DOHA: The United States and the Taliban opened fresh negotiations here on Saturday, a Taliban spokesman confirmed, as Washington eyes a breakthrough before Afghanistan’s September presidential election.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid tweeted that the "seventh round of talks between US representatives and the negotiation team of the Islamic Emirate have begun in Doha".
The talks kicked off in the Qatari capital just as news broke that at least 25 pro-government militiamen were killed in a Taliban attack in northern Afghanistan.
A potential deal would see the US agree to withdraw its troops after more than 17 years in Afghanistan, in return for the Taliban guaranteeing the country never again becomes a safe haven for violent extremist groups, as was the case with Al-Qaeda before the September 11, 2001 attacks. The negotiations have centered on four issues: counter-terrorism, foreign troop presence, an intra-Afghan dialogue and a permanent ceasefire. US officials have previously said they are hoping for a deal before the upcoming Afghan presidential elections, which have already been delayed twice and are now set for September.