KABUL/PESHAWAR,Pakistan (Reuters) – The Taliban met U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Qatar on Monday, the militant group said, days after threatening to pull out of Afghan peace talks and hours after Taliban fighters killed more than 100 members of the Afghan security forces.
“Talks between Taliban leaders and U.S. officials have started today in Qatar,” Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement.
A source close to the talks said members of the Taliban’s political office were meeting with Khalilzad in Doha, adding: “They will hopefully finalize a timeline and mechanism of the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan.”
Efforts to negotiate a peace deal to end the 17-year war in Afghanistan have been beset by disagreement in recent weeks, with the United States opposing the Taliban’s decision to shut the Afghan government out of discussions.
Earlier on Monday the Taliban killed over 100 members of the Afghan forces in central Maidan Wardak province of Afghanistan.
Reporting by Abdul Qadir Sediqi in Kabul, Jibran Ahmad in Peshawar,; Editing by Robin Pomeroy and Catherine Evans