Image of Taliban fighters used for representational purpose (File Photo/PTI)
The sixth round of peace talks between the Taliban and the US is all set to begin on Wednesday in Qatar. Notably, the talks aim at securing a lasting peace agreement that would include Taliban guarantees regarding terrorism and a phased withdrawal of American troops.
In a statement, Taliban spokesperson said that the sixth round of talks between Islamic Emirate and the US will start in Doha today.
On the other hand, the Zalmay Khalilzad, the special envoy leading the American delegation, has said the talks will ultimately focus on four main issues. They include troop withdrawal, guarantees against terrorism, talks between the Taliban and the American-supported government of Afghanistan to establish a path toward political settlement and a lasting cease-fire.
The two sides have met repeatedly to discuss the framework for an eventual peace deal, in which the Taliban would vow to stop Afghanistan ever again being used as a terrorist safe haven in return for a pull out of foreign forces. None of the talks thus far have included the Afghan government, which the Taliban views as a puppet regime.
That means that even if the US and the Taliban can agree a deal to end the 17-year-old war and a timetable for an eventual troop withdrawal, the insurgents must still forge some kind of an accord with Afghan politicians and tribal elders before an enduring ceasefire could kick in.
Khalilzad went to Moscow last week, where Russia and China voiced support for the US plan for a peace deal and stressed the need for an "intra-Afghan dialogue" that would see all sides in Afghanistan at a negotiating table.