A Taliban delegation has met with US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Qatar to discuss ending the Afghan conflict, the militant group said Saturday, in the first official confirmation of talks between the two sides.
The Taliban had reportedly met with US officials in July after an unprecedented ceasefire in June, which fuelled hopes that talks could bring an end to fighting after 17 years.
That meeting was not confirmed on the record by either side, but there has been widespread speculation since then that more talks were planned.
A wave of attacks by the Taliban and the Islamic State group in recent months, however, has poured cold water on the nascent optimism for peace.
During the latest meeting, Taliban and US negotiators discussed a "peaceful end to the invasion in Afghanistan", Mujahid said.
A US-led intervention in 2001 toppled the Taliban regime.
But the group made clear that the presence of foreign forces in the country was a "big obstacle" to peace.
Both sides "agreed to continue such meetings", he added, without providing further details.
He is known as a blunt negotiator with hawkish foreign policy views.
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