Taliban and Afghan government negotiators meet in Doha


KABUL (Reuters) - Taliban and Afghan government negotiators met in Qatar on Friday, the second day of a three-day ceasefire announced by the Taliban for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, both sides said after a long pause in peace talks between the two.

They began negotiations in September last year to find a way to end decades of war. But the talks stalled after a few rounds and violence has escalated since the United States started a final pullout of troops from Afghanistan on May 1.

"The two sides discussed the on-going situation of the country and emphasised speeding up the peace talks in Doha," the negotiating team representing the Afghan government said on Twitter.

The spokesman for the Taliban's political office, Mohammad Naeem, posted a similar message on Twitter, and added that both sides agreed to continue talks after the Eid holidays.

Finding common ground between the two warring sides has been a top priority for Western capitals, particularly Washington, which has announced it will withdraw all U.S. troops by September to end its 20-year military presence in Afghanistan.

The Taliban refused to attend a Washington-backed conference in Istanbul last month that was being held in a bid to speed up peace talks. The event was later indefinitely postponed.

(Reporting by Kabul newsroom; editing by John Stonestreet)

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