In a major breakthrough, the Taliban and the U.S. announced on Tuesday that they would hold formal talks on finding a political solution to ending nearly 12 years of war in Afghanistan, but President Barack Obama warned the process won’t be quick or easy.

The comments came on a day in which Afghan forces took the lead from the U.S.-led NATO coalition for security nationwide, marking a turning point for American and NATO military forces, which will now move entirely into a supporting role. It also opened the way for the full withdrawal of most foreign troops in 18 months.

In Doha, Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naim said the group opposed the use of Afghan soil to threaten other countries and supported the negotiating process, two key demands of both the U.S. and Afghan governments. — AP

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