US envoy meets with Taliban for first time since Trump declared talks 'dead'

US envoy meets with Taliban for first time since Trump declared talks 'dead'
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U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad on Friday reportedly met with the Taliban for the first time since President TrumpDonald John TrumpPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Sunday shows preview: US health officials brace for post-holiday COVID-19 surge MORE declared last month that peace talks with the group were "dead."

A Taliban official said Saturday that the group’s delegation was led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who co-founded the movement that a U.S.-led coalition ousted in 2001, The Associated Press reported.

While there are few details of what took place during the meeting, U.S. officials insisted that peace talks have not resumed, the AP reported.

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.


Khalilzad spent part of the week meeting with senior government officials in what U.S. leaders say is a follow-up to the United Nations General Assembly session last month. He met Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who has been pushing for a resumption of peace talks, during the assembly.

Trump said last month that peace talks with the Taliban over the 18-year war in Afghanistan were “dead,” saying it was his decision to set up a secret meeting with Taliban leaders at Camp David and later cancel it after the insurgent group claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in Kabul that killed a dozen people, including one American soldier.

Trump campaigned on withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan and ending America’s longest war but has faced hurdles in fulfilling that promise.

He said in late August that he plans to withdraw several thousand troops from Afghanistan but leave a presence of about 8,600.

The United States currently has approximately 14,000 troops in the war-torn country.