Afghan government, Taliban agree to further peace talks
The Afghan government and the Taliban concluded diplomatic negotiations in Qatar on Sunday, but both sides said they are committed to further talks.
What did the Afghan government and Taliban say?
A joint statement put out by delegations of both sides said they would "continue negotiations at a high level until a settlement is reached."
The two sides agreed to "provide humanitarian assistance throughout Afghanistan."
The delegations had been participating in talks in the Qatari capital of Doha since Saturday.
A Taliban spokesman told the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera broadcaster Sunday that the Islamic fundamentalist group did not put forward a truce during the talks.
"We did not present in the Doha talks a proposal for a three-month truce," the spokesperson said.
A Qatari official overseeing the negotiations, Mutlaq al-Qahtani, said the two sides agreed to "work to prevent civilian casualties" but had not reached a cease-fire.
Afghan fighting ramps up amid NATO withdrawal
Fighting between the Taliban and Afghan government forces has ramped up in recent months, as the US and its NATO allies pull out military personnel from the country.
The Taliban have been expanding the territory under their control during the withdrawal, gaining control of parts of northern Afghanistan and strategic border areas.
A survey conducted by German news agency dpa in mid-July found the Taliban control more than half of Afghanistan's approximately 400 districts.
At the same time, the Taliban said the group "strenously favors" a political settlement for the country.
US President Joe Biden announced in April that he will withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan by September 11. The move has prompted fears that the Taliban could take over the country completely from Afghan security forces and roll back civil liberties and women's rights.
A top UN official in Afghanistan last week called for $850 million (€720 million) in funding to help the country cope with renewed attacks by the Taliban, severe drought and other factors.
wd/sri (Reuters, AFP, AP)