'Very positive signals' after U.S., Taliban talks

Taliban official says group spoke with U.S. official about plans for peace talks

Taliban officials met secretly with a senior usa diplomat in Qatar last week, sources in the group have told the BBC.

The US department of state has confirmed that Ms Wells, of the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, was in Qatar last week to meet government officials and talk about an Afghan peace process but did not confirm or deny the Taliban meeting.

Earlier media reported about the meeting of the USA delegation, headed by the Director of the Department of state for South Asia, Alice wells and representatives of the Taliban. Despite the talks, which the Taliban called "a series of meetings for initiating formal and purposeful talks", the USA maintains any peace negotiations must be made between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

Afghan and Taliban officials will hold two days of "reconciliation" talks in Qatar, the Gulf nation's state news agency reported, May 2, 2015.

The Taliban spokesman who furnished the information on the condition of anonymity stated that the discussion ended up being useful and the atmosphere was very positive.

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.

Although the Taliban refused an offer by President Ashraf Ghani to extend the Eid ceasefire, behind-the-scenes contacts have continued and the government has said it is considering another ceasefire during next month's Eid-al Qurban holiday.

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

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They added that Washington was "exploring all avenues to advance a peace process in close consultation with the Afghan government".

During the Taleban's five-year rule that ended with the 2001 US-led invasion, leader Mullah Mohammed Omar said regardless of whatever concessions they agreed to, including allowing girls to attend school, it would not gain them global recognition as long as the USA refused to accept them.

The Afghan president's office told the Times on Saturday that it welcomes any support for peace efforts.

Murtazawi did not comment directly on the meeting in Doha or say whether Ghani's government was aware that the meeting had been held.

After the declared end of combat operations in 2014, most American troops withdrew to major population areas in the country, leaving Afghan forces to defend remote outposts.

"Any negotiations over the political future of Afghanistan will be between the Taliban and Afghan government", Stephanie Newman, the U.S. spokeswoman, said.

President Donald Trump re-committed the USA to the war in a new strategy past year, and stepped up air strikes against the militants to try to force them to the negotiating table.

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