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Afghan peace talks with US enter fourth day, Taliban says

People attend a rally in Afghan capital Kabul on Nov. 12, 2018. Hundreds of protestors staged a peaceful rally in Kabul and gathered in front of Presidential Palace on Monday calling upon the president to take immediate action against attacking militants in Jaghori and Malestan districts of the eastern Ghazni province. (/Rahmat Alizadah/Xinhua/Sipa USA)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

U.S. officials have held talks with Taliban envoys in Qatar for a fourth day, the militants said, as the two sides pursue a potential deal to bring an end to Afghanistan’s 17-year conflict.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told the media on January 24 that “discussions are still ongoing,” although they had initially been scheduled to last for two days.

“We will talk in detail later when we reach agreement,” Zabihullah said.

The Pakistani Foreign Ministry also confirmed that talks were under way, although there was no immediate comment from the U.S. Embassy or NATO in Kabul.

The United States said on January 22 that it had resumed talks with the militants in Qatar, where special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad was meeting Taliban representatives.

Washington wants the insurgents to enter talks with the Afghan government, but they have long refused, saying it is a U.S. puppet.

Khalilzad spent the weekend in Pakistan. where he held talks with Prime Minister Imran Khan as part of a regional tour that saw the envoy shuttling between India, China, and Afghanistan.

Khalilzad has held at least four meetings with Taliban representatives, but there has been no let-up in the violence so far.