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Newsline: Afghanistan’s Taliban sources confirm Qatar meeting with senior US diplomat

Taliban officials met secretly with a senior US diplomat in Qatar last week, sources in the group have told the BBC. The face-to-face talks in Doha with Alice Wells, a state department deputy assistant secretary, were “very important”, one Taliban official said. News of the meeting follows a directive from the Trump administration for US diplomats to talk directly with the Afghan militant group. The Taliban have long said that only with the US will they discuss peace. Direct talks with the militants, without Afghan officials present, marks a major turnaround in Washington’s policy as it seeks to end America’s longest war. It comes after an unprecedented three-day ceasefire during Eid celebrations in June that was largely respected by both sides. There have been attacks since, including one on army check points in Badghis province. The meeting was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. Two senior Taliban sources confirmed it to the BBC’s Mahfouz Zubaide, in Kabul. They said a six-member delegation was led by Abbas Stanikzai, who heads the group’s political office in Doha.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-45006643

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