UN, Norway providing technical support to negotiators in US-Taliban talks

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Representatives from the United Nations and the Norwegian government are providing technical support to negotiators in peace talks between the United States and the Taliban in Qatar, sources said on Sunday.

Representatives from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation would also join the talks which are happening in Doha.

They are expected to act as guarantors of agreement between the Taliban and the US.

The US and the Taliban resumed their talks in Qatar on Saturday after a two-day pause for internal deliberations.

“We continue to take slow, steady steps toward an understanding and eventually peace,” Zalmay Khalilzad, the US top negotiator, said on Thursday.

The talks continued for a second day on Sunday and sources said that they could continue for tomorrow, day after tomorrow or even more days.

The New York Times reported on Friday that the negotiators were working on a plan that calls for withdrawal of all US forces from Afghanistan in five years.

“The US says that longer period of time is required for withdrawal of forces and evacuation of bases, while the Taliban call for the withdrawal within a shorter period of time,” Waheed Muzhda, a political expert and a former Taliban official, told 1TV.

He said that there was still no full agreement on the issue, adding details of it were still being discussed.

Khalilzad has suggested that other issues including preventing Afghanistan from being used against US and its allies, ceasefire and talks with the Afghan government were also on the agenda.

The Taliban, however, has said that the issue of talks with Kabul is not in its agenda for the meeting.

Fraidoon Kahowzon, deputy spokesman for Afghan Chief Executive, said that the Taliban should talk with the Afghan government as he said that it was the only way to reach peace.

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