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Taliban, German Envoys Meet In Qatar Amid Peace Push

Markus Potzel was the German ambassador in Kabul from 2014 to 2016.
Markus Potzel was the German ambassador in Kabul from 2014 to 2016.

The Taliban has met in Qatar with Germany's special representative for Afghanistan amid international efforts to end the nearly 18-year war.

In a statement on May 19, the Taliban said Markus Potzel held talks with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban's deputy leader who is leading the militant group's peace efforts.

U.S. and Taliban negotiators have met for several rounds of peace talks since last year, and despite progress have been unable to finalize a peace agreement.

Sohail Shaheen, the spokesman for the Taliban's political office in Qatar, said in a statement on May 19 that Potzel and Baradar discussed "various aspects" of a possible peace deal, and "efforts of Germany in this regard."

Potzel, the ambassador to Afghanistan from 2014 to 2016, also met Baradar for talks on May 1.

The latest talks between U.S. and Taliban representatives ended on May 9, with U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad saying that "steady but slow progress" was made.

U.S. and Taliban negotiators have been trying to find agreement on four interconnected issues, including the Taliban breaking off ties with groups designated as terrorist by Washington, the timetable of a U.S. military withdrawal, a cease-fire in Afghanistan, and an intra-Afghan dialogue that would include the Taliban and government representatives.

The Taliban has refused to negotiate with the Western-backed Kabul government, viewing it as illegitimate.

With reporting by dpa