Zalmay Khalilzad

The U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, on Friday said “faster progress’’ is needed in negotiations with the Taliban as another round of talks between the two sides came to an end.

Reports by dpa and NAN revealed that Khalilzad said steady but slow progress was made in the round of discussions, held in the Qatari capital of Doha that ended on Thursday, “the pace of which is not sufficient when so much conflict rages and innocent people die,’’ Khalilzad said.

In a statement on Friday, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid called the current round of talks “positive,’’ with both sides discussing topics on the agenda in the previous round.

According to him, this includes full withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan and preventing Afghanistan from harming others.

Mujahid said “progress’’ was made on some points while others had “yet to be finalised.’’

The talks were led by Khalilzad and the deputy head of the Taliban’s political office in Doha, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai.

The discussions are aimed at finding a possible political solution to the Afghan conflict and ending the longest war in U.S. history.

The U.S. has been meeting the Taliban since July last year in the hope of a peaceful resolution to the 17-year-long Afghan conflict.

The Taliban has so far refused to directly talk with the Afghan government, which the militants call a “puppet regime.’’

A call by an Afghan Loya Jirga Grand Assembly for an immediate and permanent ceasefire beginning with the holy month of Ramadan, which started on Sunday, was denied by the militant group.

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