Saturday 08 August 2020
News ID: 73872
Publish Date: 13 December 2019 - 22:16
KABUL (Dispatches) – U.S. negotiators are taking a "brief pause” from talks with the Taliban after the militants launched an attack on a U.S. base outside Kabul killing two, Special Envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad says.
Khalilzad had renewed talks with the Taliban earlier this month on steps that could lead to a ceasefire and a settlement of the 18-year-long war in Afghanistan.
"I met Talibs today, I expressed outrage about attack on Bagram,” Khalilzad wrote on Twitter, referring to the attack on Bagram air base on Wednesday which killed two people and injured more than 70 others.
"We’re taking a brief pause for them to consult their leadership on this essential topic,” he added.
Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said Friday’s meeting was "very good and friendly”.
"Both sides decided to resume the talks after a few days of break for consultation,” he said.
At least one person was killed and about 100 others were injured in bomb blasts and ensuing clashes after the attack on the United States’ largest military base in Afghanistan.
The attack took place near the entrance to Bagram Airfield, coming as the U.S. looked to revive stalled peace talks with Taliban militants who control more territory than at any point since 2001.
Officials said two attackers detonated vehicles laden with explosives at the southern entrance to the base, while five opened fire. A 30-minute clash ensued between the attackers who obviously wanted to enter the base, and foreign forces.
Negotiations began earlier this year, though U.S. President Donald Trump unexpectedly suspended talks in September citing an attack in Kabul in which an American soldier was killed.
Trump paid a surprise Thanksgiving visit to Afghanistan last month and said the United States and the Taliban had been engaged in ongoing talks and the Taliban wanted a ceasefire.
Tens of thousands of Afghan civilians, security officials and more than 2,400 American service members have been killed in the almost two-decade-old war.
There are currently about 13,000 U.S. forces in Afghanistan as well as thousands of other NATO troops.

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