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Iran says Afghan Taliban were in Tehran for peace talks

TEHRAN: Iran said Monday that the Afghan Taliban have visited Tehran for a second round of peace talks in just a few days aimed at bringing an end to 17 years of conflict. Iran has made a more concerted and open push for peace in neighbouring Afghanistan since US President Donald Trump indicated there would be a significant withdrawal of American troops. "Yesterday (Sunday), a delegation of Taliban were in Tehran and lengthy negotiations were held with Iran's deputy foreign minister... (Abbas) Araghchi," said spokesman…

A blow to morale: Afghan generals worry about US withdrawal

The Taliban welcomed news of the US plan to withdraw half its troops in Afghanistan by the summer, as Afghan generals warned it would be a blow to the morale of the country's beleaguered security forces who come under daily attacks from the insurgent fighters. The announcement seems certain to complicate efforts to reach a peace deal, mostly because it gives the Taliban leverage by allowing them to hold off until a total US withdrawal, or step up their demands over a weakened Afghan government. “I believe the Taliban…

US envoy questions Afghan Taliban’s desire for peace

KABUL: US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad raised doubts on Thursday about the Taliban’s desire to end the 17-year war, after the militants refused to meet a Kabul-backed negotiating team. While he was certain the Afghan government wanted to stop the conflict, Khalilzad told Ariana News that he questioned whether the Taliban were “genuinely seeking peace”. “We have to wait and see their forthcoming steps,” he said, according to a translation of the interview provided by the US embassy in Kabul. Khalilzad’s remarks to…