Pakistan freed Taliban co-founder at US request: Envoy

U.S. Army General Joseph Votel commander U.S. Central Command

Citing unnamed Defence Department officials, the newspaper said the U.S. attacks had reached the highest level since 2014, with the surge having started during the fall, The peace talks followed President Donald Trump's announcement that he would begin withdrawing USA troops from Afghanistan and wind down the almost 18-year war.

Pakistan's role in the peace negotiations is a delicate one, with Islamabad seeking to avoid demonstrating the kind of broad influence over the Taliban that Washington has long accused it of having.

"We would prefer to see a peace agreement before July to bring the Taliban also into the process so that the peace agreement would a facility that peaceful election or a framework for proceeding with regards to the future of Afghanistan, he added".

The Afghan government, which was not invited in last week's Moscow talks, slammed Russian Federation for allowing the United Nations blacklisted Taliban members to take part in the talks.

Critics are skeptical for a number of reasons, primarily because talks have not yet included the Afghan government, which the Taleban considers US-backed puppets.

He insisted that the Taliban are holding talks with the United States "on their own initiative".

There were six days of peace talks in Doha - where Hanafi said the timetable had been set - but there have also been talks elsewhere as the insurgents meet top officials from Asia, Europe and beyond to reach a political settlement aimed at ending the war.

The Taliban's top negotiator in Moscow Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai said after the meeting that there would be no cease-fire until the withdrawal of foreign troops. "We have already realized that it is just impossible", he told Sputnik. Karzai also dismissed United States claims about providing security for Afghanistan.

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"We are in the early stage of a protracted process", he said in remarks at the United States Institute of Peace, adding, "We have a long way to go".

If there is no progress towards peace, he added, "the elections will take place, and we are doing what we can to support the preparations for a credible election".

Additionally, the Taleban have promised not to shelter foreign extremists, but experts say they can not be trusted and even now are helping to hide such militants.

He said that there is time to make a final deal before Afghanistan's presidential election in July.

In his annual State of the Union speech on Tuesday, Trump said the time has come "to at least try for peace".

The US can not be a substitute for decisions that they must make.

"But we don't have to wait until then for regional players to play a positive role". The US invaded Afghanistan in October 2001, accusing the Taliban of harboring Osama Bin Laden, the accused mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in NY and Washington.

While the US talks with the Taliban have focused on troop presence and assurances that terrorist networks would not be given haven, Khalilzad said intra-Afghan talks could also deal with human rights, freedom of the press and the role of women, who were harshly oppressed under Taliban rule.

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