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US, Taliban enter 9th round of negotiations to end 18 year long war

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QATAR: An envoy of the United States and the Taliban resumed negotiations on Thursday in Qatar on ending America’s longest war.

According to sources, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Gen. Scott Miller was also present at the negotiations

This would be the 9th round of negotiations on issues including withdrawal of US troops, cease-fire agreement, intra-Afghan negotiation and a list of Taliban guarantees to keep Afghanistan free of terrorists.

Earlier on Wednesday, US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad had also met one-on-one with the Taliban’s lead negotiator and founding member, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

It was not immediately clear when a deal might be reached, but sources claim it may take somewhere between 15-18 months

US President Trump, who has termed this long war “ridiculous” entangling the US troops for almost 18 years now, has said earlier this week that Afghanistan remains dangerous and “we have to have a presence”, a stance that could complicate talks with the Taliban, whose top demand has been the departure of all US and allied troops, which number close to 20,000.

A Taliban spokesman said the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Gen. Scott Miller was at the negotiations in Qatar on Thursday.

Two U.S. service members were killed on Wednesday, joining more than 2,400 US service personnel who have died since the US-led invasion in 2001 to topple the Taliban, whose government had harbored al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

Trump this week also said Afghanistan remains dangerous and “we have to have a presence”, a stance that could complicate talks with the Taliban, whose top demand has been the departure of all US and allied troops, which number close to 20,000.

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