US, Taliban to hold first high-level talks in Doha since Afghanistan pullout


KABUL – Taliban officials and US representatives are set to engage in the first high-level talks Saturday and Sunday with a key focus on the elimination of extremists groups and evacuation of foreign and Afghan nationals from the country.

The crucial talks will be held in Doha, the capital of Qatar, where the Taliban have their political office since their first government was toppled by foreign forces in 2001 offensive.

This is the first high-level engagement since the Taliban regained power in Afghanistan after overturning Ashraf Ghani’s government.

Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen told international media on Saturday that the peace agreement the Taliban signed with Washington in 2020 will also be reviewed in the meeting.

The agreement had paved the way for the final US withdrawal from Afghanistan after two-decade-long war.

“Yes there is a meeting… about bilateral relations and implementation of the Doha agreement,” said Shaheen. “It covers various topics.”

Since the Taliban came into power, the Islamic State, a militant group, have launched a spree of attacks on the Taliban, besides targeting religious and ethnic minorities in the country.

On Friday, more than 50 worshippers were killed and scores more injured after an explosion at a mosque in Kunduz is a city in northern Afghanistan during Friday prayers.

The blast happened at a Shiite mosque in Sayed Abad district this afternoon, local officials said.

Videos circulating on social media showed injured people inside the mosque while a number of panicked Afghan citizens are rushing out of the mosque.

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