US envoy hails 'significant progress' in Taliban talks

Washington (AFP) –


The US envoy negotiating with the Taliban hailed "significant progress" Saturday in finding a solution to end Afghanistan's long-running war.

"Meetings here were more productive than they have been in the past. We made significant progress on vital issues," Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special representative for Afghan reconciliation, wrote on Twitter.

Khalilzad met for an unexpectedly long six days with the Taliban in Qatar. He said he was flying back to Afghanistan to discuss the talks.

"We will build on the momentum and resume talks shortly. We have a number of issues left to work out," he tweeted.

"Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, and 'everything' must include an intra-Afghan dialogue and comprehensive ceasefire."

While he did not give further details, floated proposals include a withdrawal by the United States of its troops in return for Taliban guarantees not to shelter foreign extremists -- the initial reason for the US intervention.

President Donald Trump has been eager to end America's longest war, which was launched shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Trump has already said he will pull half of the 14,000 US troops from Afghanistan.