Afghan government and Taliban meet, discuss speeding up peace talks

Afghan government and Taliban meet, discuss speeding up peace talks
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The Afghan government and the Taliban met for negotiations in Doha, Qatar, on Friday to discuss speeding up peace talks amid a rise in violence in Afghanistan. 

The talks, which began in September, had been on an extended stall, during which a spree of bombings ravaged Afghanistan as the U.S. prepares to withdraw its troops. 

"The two sides discussed the on-going situation of the country and emphasised speeding up the peace talks in Doha," the Afghan negotiating team tweeted of the talks

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Mohammad Naeem, a Taliban spokesperson, echoed those remarks, saying the talks would continue after the Eid holidays and that the two sides discussed expediting negotiations.

Making progress in the intra-Afghan talks has been a top priority for the U.S. as it begins pulling troops out after roughly two decades of war in Afghanistan.

However, the road to progress has been bumpy, with the Taliban pulling out of U.S.-backed talks in Istanbul last month.

Violence has spiked in Afghanistan as the talks stalled, most recently with a bombing at a school near Kabul that killed dozens of girls.

The Taliban had vowed to ramp up attacks after the U.S. pushed its timeline for withdrawal back from May 1, a date agreed upon between the group and the Trump administration. 

The U.S. withdrawal is now slated to be done by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that pushed the country to invade Afghanistan.