U.S. officials likely to meet the group in Doha on Thursday

After years of conflict, hopes of negotiations as the way forward to end the fighting in Afghanistan were kindled on Tuesday when the Taliban announced that it was ready to hold peace negotiations with the Afghan government. Representatives of the U.S. will likely meet with the Taliban in Doha on Thursday, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday.

Reuters is quoting a senior Taliban official as saying that peace talks “will certainly take place between the Taliban and the High Peace Council”.

The High Peace Council was set up by Afghan President Hamid Karzai in 2010 to find a negotiated end to the conflict. The Taliban’s announcement breaks fresh ground after more than a decade of fighting as the group had so far rejected talks with Kabul, disparaging the Karzai government as a “stooge” of the Americans and the West. The dramatic turnaround in the position of the Afghan militant group coincided with the opening of its office in Doha, the capital of Qatar, and the nationwide takeover of security duties by the Afghan forces from NATO.

In Kabul, Mr. Karzai seemed to be on the same page as the Taliban on talks. He announced that his government would be sending a delegation to Qatar for talks with the militant group.

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