US special envoy in Kabul amid renewed push for deal

US special envoy in Kabul amid renewed push for deal
US special envoy in Kabul amid renewed push for deal

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - The US special envoy leading negotiations with the Taliban met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul on Wednesday, an official said, amid a renewed push to reach an accord with the insurgents.

Zalmay Khalilzad and Mr Ghani discussed several topics including the need for a ceasefire, Mr Ghani's spokesman Sediq Seddiqi said.

"The president also expressed his concerns about the continued violence by the Taliban," Mr Sediqqi said.

"The president reiterated that the government and people of Afghanistan want a sustainable peace."

Mr Khalilzad has spent more than a year leading the push for a deal with the Taliban that would include the US pulling its forces from Afghanistan in return for security guarantees from the insurgents.

Although the US has kept Mr Ghani apprised of developments, the Afghan president has been cut out of negotiations because the Taliban refuse to recognise his government.

A US-Taliban deal was all but signed in early September, but President Donald scuttled the agreement at the last minute, citing concerns about Taliban violence, including a Kabul bombing that killed an American soldier.

Talks resumed on December 7 amid a reduction in violence in Kabul but were paused following another Taliban attack, this time at Bagram airbase north of the capital.

The US embassy in Kabul declined to comment immediately, but talks appear to have resumed again this week in Doha.

The latest visit comes after 10 members of the same family died on Tuesday when their car hit a roadside bomb as they were travelling to a funeral in eastern Afghanistan, officials said.

The victims were driving in Khost province in a large vehicle when the blast occurred, according to local and national sources.

"The casualties include five men, two women and three children, all from one family," Talib Mangal, a spokesman for Khost's governor, said.

"They were travelling to Logar province to attend a funeral."

Provincial police spokesman Adil Haidar confirmed the toll and incident details, while interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi added it was a Taliban bomb.

Updated: December 18, 2019 04:08 PM

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