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Taliban Says It Held Talks Last Week with Senior US Diplomat
A senior U.S. diplomat held talks last week in Doha with representatives of the Taliban, with no one from the Afghan government present, top Taliban officials said Sunday.
As first reported by The Wall Street Journal, the Taliban said the talks with deputy assistant secretary of state Alice Wells ended with "very positive signals" and a decision to hold more talks.
"You can't call it peace talks. There are a series of meetings for initiating formal and purposeful talks. We agreed to meet again soon and resolve the Afghan conflict through dialogue," a Taliban official said.
He gave no details of the talks.A U.S. State Department spokeswoman did not confirm or deny the meeting, but repeated the long-held U.S. policy that "any negotiations over the political future of Afghanistan will be between the Taliban and the Afghan government."
A successful cease-fire in Afghanistan for Eid al-Fitr - the holiday marking the end of Ramadan - has given all sides confidence that peace talks in Afghanistan are possible.
There has been speculation that another cease-fire for next month's Eid-al Qurban holiday is possible.
The Taliban has said there can be peace in Afghanistan only when all foreign fighters leave.
Past U.S. efforts to open peace talks in Afghanistan failed.