KABUL (Reuters) – Wary representatives of Afghan society met Taliban officials in Qatar on Monday for a second day of talks, with bloody insurgent attacks back home casting a pall over efforts to end Afghanistan’s years of war.
The Taliban on Sunday detonated a car bomb outside a government security compound in central Afghanistan killing 14 people and wounding 180, including scores of children.
Attack - Onset - Meeting - Afghan - Citizens
The attack came at the onset of a two-day meeting between Afghan citizens and the militants, meant to open the way to an Afghan peace process that should build on a hoped-for deal between the United States and the Taliban to end the longest ever U.S. war.
“It is very hard to sit across from those men who are waging a war against innocent Afghans, but it is also a test of our commitment to peace,” said a senior Afghan government official involved in the talks.
Taliban - US - Officials - Deal - Taliban
The Taliban and U.S. officials are trying to strike a deal on a Taliban demand for the withdrawal of U.S. and other foreign forces and a U.S. demand that the Taliban not let Afghanistan be used as a base for terrorism.
But the Taliban have refused to negotiate with the U.S.-backed Afghan government, denouncing it as a U.S puppet.
Delegation - Afghan - Representatives - Qatar - Government
So while the 60-member delegation of Afghan representatives in Qatar includes government officials, they are not there in their official capacity.
“I am here as an Afghan, but I am not sure if the Taliban view themselves as Afghans before anything else,” said the government official, who spoke by telephone from Qatar but declined to be identified.
Reuters - Afghan - Talks
Reuters spoke to six of the Afghan delegates attending the talks.
The Taliban officials were welcoming...
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