FEATURED:

State Dept. official met with Taliban to kick-start Afghanistan peace talks: report

State Dept. official met with Taliban to kick-start Afghanistan peace talks: report
© Getty Images

The State Department's top official for South and Central Asia met this week with Taliban officials as part of a renewed effort to lay the foundation for potential peace talks, the Wall Street Journal reported

Alice Wells, the deputy assistant secretary of State for South and Central Asia, led a U.S. delegation to Doha, Qatar, where they met with members of the Taliban's political commission, the Journal reported. 

A State Department official declined to confirm whether Wells met with Taliban officials in Doha, but said that she met with Qatar's Deputy Prime Minister Khalid bin Mohamed Al-Attiyah and other Qatari officials to discuss an Afghan-led peace process.

ADVERTISEMENT

"The United States is exploring all avenues to advance a peace process in close consultation with the Afghan government," the official said. "Any negotiations over the political future of Afghanistan will be between the Taliban and Afghan government."

Qatar's Office of the Media Attaché did not immediately respond to The Hill's request for comment.

The Afghan government and the Taliban called a rare three-day ceasefire last month in honor of Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan. 

Citing people familiar with the matter, the Journal reported that Wells' meeting with Taliban officials was intended to build on that ceasefire in hopes of one day paving the way for peace talks.