The Taliban has confirmed a claim by US President Donald Trump that Washington has resumed informal talks.
“The Taliban wants to make a deal and we are meeting with them and we are saying it has to be a ceasefire and they didn’t want to do a ceasefire and now they do want to do a ceasefire, I believe. It will probably work out that way,” he told reporters.
Taliban’s official spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said earlier on Friday:
“It is way too early to talk about the resumption of talks for now”.
The bumpy road to peace
Trump’s visit came a week after a prisoner swap between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
Earlier this year, the US reached a deal in principle with the Taliban to pull out troops from the country and wind down the 18-year war in return for security guarantees.
About 13,000 US troops remain in Afghanistan, 18 years after the US invaded the country in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks.
The US president had more recently suggested that the negotiations could get under way again.
The Taliban have refused to negotiate formally with the Afghan government, but diplomatic efforts to foster dialogue continue.
During Thursday’s visit, Trump met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
Ghani said on Twitter that the two leaders had “discussed the important progress we have jointly made in our military efforts in the battlefield,” and the necessity of a ceasefire with the Taliban.