US opens first round of resurrected peace talks with Taliban

FILE – In this May 28, 2019, file photo, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban group’s top political leader, second left, arrives with other members of the Taliban delegation for talks in Moscow, Russia. U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad held on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, the first official talks with Afghanistan’s Taliban since last September when President Donald Trump declared a near-certain peace deal with the insurgents dead. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad held the first official talks with Afghanistan’s Taliban since President Donald Trump declared a near-certain peace deal with the insurgents dead in September. A U.S. statement said Saturday the talks will initially focus on getting a Taliban promise to reduce violence with a permanent cease-fire being the eventual goal. Khalilzad has spoken about including in the negotiations all sides in the conflict. The Taliban have so far refused direct talks with the Afghan government.

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