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Taliban, Afghan Government Agree To Continue Peace Talks; No Mention Of Holiday Cease-Fire

Afghan and Taliban negotiating teams met in Qatar on July 18.

Representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban have failed to make significant progress in the latest round of Doha talks but agreed to meet again next week.

In a joint statement on July 18 after two days of talks in the Qatari capital, the two delegations of negotiators said "the two sides committed to continue negotiations at a high level until a settlement is reached."

There was no mention of a cease-fire for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, which begins in Afghanistan on July 20.

Several times in the past, the Taliban and Kabul government have agreed on short truces during Islamic holidays, raising hopes they could be extended into longer-term cease-fires.

The government delegation was led by Abdullah Abdullah, the second-highest Afghan official and the chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation. The Taliban team was headed by top Taliban figure Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

Peace talks between the Taliban and Afghan government in Doha have been stalled for months.

The militant group has meanwhile carried out a sweeping offensive that has seen it capture nearly half of the country’s roughly 400 districts, threaten several provincial capitals, and take control of a number of border posts as U.S.-led international forces exit the country.

Ahead of the second day of Doha talks, Taliban leader Hibatullah Akhunzada said the Islamic movement remained committed to finding a political solution to the conflict.

Akhundzada said that “in spite of the military gains and advances, the Islamic Emirate (Taliban) strenuously favors a political settlement in the country, and every opportunity for the establishment of an Islamic system.”

Akhunzada's statement also made no mention of a cease-fire for the Eid al-Adha holiday, also known as the Festival of the Sacrifice.

With reporting by AFP, AP, and Reuters
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