In this Monday, Feb. 25, 2019 photo released by Qatar Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Special Envoy of the Qatar Foreign Minister for Counterterrorism and Mediation in conflicts resolution, Dr. Mutlaq Bin Majid Al-Qahtanithe, is the mediator of talks between the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, and the Deputy Commander of the Taliban Movement for Political Affairs, Mulla Abdul Ghani Berader, right, in an undisclosed place in Doha, Qatar. U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad met with one of the founders of the Taliban for the first time on Monday ahead of the latest round of talks with the insurgents aimed at ending the 17-year war in Afghanistan. (Qatar Ministry of Foreign Affairs via AP)
DOHA, Qatar – The United States and the Taliban have expressed optimism about the latest round of talks aimed at ending the 17-year war in Afghanistan.
U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad says the talks, which carried into their second day on Tuesday, represent a "significant moment." The Taliban have also indicated progress, and the presence of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a co-founder of the movement and veteran battlefield commander, has further raised expectations.
The closed-door discussions in Qatar, where the Taliban maintain a political office, are believed to be focused on a U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and on launching negotiations between the Taliban and the U.S.-backed government in Kabul.