US, Taliban peace talks end with no deal in Qatar
The fifth round of peace talks between the U.S. and Afghan Taliban ended on Tuesday without reaching a final deal, officials said.
The talks in Qatar's capital Doha lasted for 16 days.
"Just finished a marathon round of talks with the Taliban in #Doha. The conditions for #peace have improved. It’s clear all sides want to end the war. Despite ups and downs, we kept things on track and made real strides," U.S. top envoy Zalmay Khalilzad tweeted after the meeting ended.
"Peace requires agreement on four issues: counter-terrorism assurances, troop withdrawal, intra-Afghan dialogue, and a comprehensive ceasefire. In January talks, we "agreed in principle" on these four elements. We're now "agreed in draft" on the first two," he added.
He said once an agreement on the withdrawal of troops and counter-terror measures is finalized, negotiations on the other two issues will begin.
My next step is discussions in Washington and consultations with other partners. We will meet again soon, and there is no final agreement until everything is agreed," Khalilzad concluded.
In a separate statement, Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that extensive talks were held on two previously agreed-upon issues.
"Those two issues were the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Afghanistan and preventing anyone from harming others from Afghan soil; how and when will all foreign forces exit Afghanistan and through what method?" he said in a statement.
The talks are aimed at ending the 17-year war with Afghanistan.
The U.S. wants to include the Afghan government in the talks but the Taliban refuse to recognize Kabul.
"No agreement was reached regarding a ceasefire and talks with the Kabul administration, nor were other issues made as part of the current agenda. Reports by some media outlets in this regard are baseless," Mujahid concluded.
Afghanistan has maintained that any peace process in the country should be owned and led by its people.