United States restarts Afghanistan peace talks with Taliban in Qatar

A member of an Afghan security patrol- the government controls less than 60% of Afghan territory amid gains for the Taliban

In September, United States President Donald Trump abruptly halted the diplomatic efforts that could have ended more than a decade old war. "The focus of discussion will be reduction of violence that leads to intra-Afghan negotiations and a cease-fire".

"On Saturday talks between the Taliban and United States started from where they stopped", Suhail Shaheen said, adding that Anas Haqqani, a former Taliban prisoner who was released in a swap last month, participated in Saturday's talks as a negotiation member.

Trump, the third USA commander in chief to preside over America's longest war since a US -led coalition ousted the Taliban leadership following the 9/11 attacks on the United States, has expressed a desire to withdraw the estimated 12,000 US troops from Afghanistan.

It was also expected a possible peace agreement could be done after more than 18 years of war.

"On a surprise Thanksgiving Day visit, at Baghram airbase north of Kabul, Trump demanded a ceasefire with the Taliban but admitted that the war "will not be decided on the battlefield", adding that ultimately, there will need to be a political solution... decided by the people of the region". "You can't do that with me", Trump said while responding to a question about his decision to cancel the talks.

Trump has expressed frustration with the longest USA war repeatedly saying he wants to bring the 12,000 American soldiers home and calling on Afghanistan's own police and military to step up.

Even during the stalemate in the talks, Khalilzad has made a tour of nations with interests in Afghan peace in recent weeks, including Pakistan.

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The Taliban has so far refused direct talks with Ghani, calling him a "US puppet".

The Taliban - a militant group fighting to restore their version of strict Islamic law - control or hold sway over almost half of Afghanistan and stage near-daily attacks on targets across the country.

He recently arranged a captive swap in which the Taliban released an American and an Australian academic whom they had held hostage for three years.

No official announcement has been made about the reduction of violence. He said that the Taliban wants a settlement due to the continued shelling from the U.S. in recent months.

Khalilzad, who reportedly met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul last week, is also said to be seeking to get the Taliban eventually to sit down with Afghan government representatives.

Shaheen emphasized that the Taliban will recognize every faction that wins the Afghan election as a side to the war, not as a government.

"To simply negotiate a deal that allows for the withdrawal of global forces and some sort of renunciation of terrorism, in my view, will not last".

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