United States calls Afghan troops to retreat to cities

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The Wall Street Journal reported that Alice Wells, a top USA envoy for South Asia, led the United States delegation in talks with members of the Taliban's political commission.

The Taliban has consistently insisted that as long as American troops are in Afghanistan, negotiations with the USA are a precondition for peace talks with the Afghan government.

"The overall atmosphere of the meeting was very good and the discussions were also productive", said the Taliban official, but he shared no further details.

The Taleban have long demanded direct talks with Washington, saying they do not want to talk politics with the USA but instead meet face to face to discuss Washington's concerns, particularly its security concerns about the Taleban and Taleban involvement in Afghanistan's future. "[Trump's surrender strategy] will effectively ensure that the Taliban and other insurgent groups will hold on to territory that they have already seized, leaving the government in Kabul to safeguard the capital and cities such as Kandahar, Kunduz, Mazar-i-Sharif and Jalalabad".

A former minister in the Afghanistan government too confirmed the news of a meeting between the Taliban and the US.

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Taliban's five-year rule over at least three quarters of Afghanistan came to an end when the US and its allies invaded the Asian country on October 7, 2001 as part of Washington's so-called war on terror. And despite protests by Khan that extremism in Pakistan would not have arisen without the U.S.' "War on Terror", the Pakistani political establishment and its intelligence establishment have employed terror as a state policy long before 9/11.

A Taliban official says a meeting between the militant group and a senior U.S. diplomat to discuss a possible ceasefire ended with very positive signals.

It wasn't clear when the next meeting would be held or with whom, but the Taleban official who spoke to The AP was certain one would be held.

The Taliban has long maintained an informal "political office" in Doha to restart the dormant peace process, according to the Times.

The Taliban have repeatedly declared that they would not enter talks until US -led foreign troops left the country.

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Until now, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's national security team said it is ready to hold talks with the Taleban at any time and that their allies, including the USA, should participate only as observers.

The Afghan president's office said Saturday that it welcomed any support for peace efforts.

A former Taleban minister and ex-head of their political committee, Aga Jan Mohtism, who has maintained close contacts with the insurgent group, also confirmed a meeting in Doha between United States officials and the Taleban took place earlier this week.

The Times reported earlier this month that the Trump administration urged its top diplomats to seek direct talks with the Taliban to rekindle negotiations to end the war.

His release was eventually secured in May 2014 in exchange for the five Taleban prisoners, who are living in Doha.

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