Taliban set for new talks with US

Taliban set for new talks with US
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Taliban officials are set for a second round of talks with U.S. forces in Afghanistan, possibly beginning this month, according to unnamed Taliban sources.

Officials with the militant group told The Associated Press that a meeting in July with U.S. envoy Alice Wells ended with a promise to meet again in September, with Taliban fighters hoping to secure a diplomatic re-entry into Afghanistan daily life and politics.

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U.S. officials refused to confirm or deny the existence of a September meeting, the AP confirmed. The unnamed official, who spoke to the AP from the Taliban's political office in Qatar, said that recognition of the Taliban's political office and the organization itself as a political body were prerequisites to peace.

American forces are also hoping to secure the release of two hostages, American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks, who were taken in 2016, according to the AP.

The negotiations come, the AP reports, just a month after the Taliban ended its practice of treating International Committee of the Red Cross employees as civilians due to what it said was a failure by the Red Cross to support prisoners on a hunger strike in the region.

Other organizations were warned at the time to “understand that if they indulge in trivial or other irrelevant activities instead of focusing on the main needs of the oppressed people, the Islamic Emirate will treat them in a similar fashion as the decision taken against the Red Cross.”

In July, it was reported that the Trump administration had ordered U.S. troops to withdraw from remote regions of the country to avoid Taliban and other militant attacks.

Last year, the president announced an overhaul of the U.S.'s strategy in Afghanistan, America's longest-running war, citing "frustration" over a lack of achieved stability in the country.

“The American people are weary of war without victory. I share the American people’s frustration,” Trump said last August, adding that, “in the end, we will fight and we will win.”