US-Taliban negotiation in Pakistan postponed
Many members of Taliban's negotiating team were unable to go overseas.
ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – The meeting between a delegation of the United States and Taliban representatives in Pakistan has been postponed.
A Taliban statement issued later in the day said the talks were postponed because many members of its 14 person negotiating team were unable to go overseas since they are on "the US and UN blacklist."
Both the Taliban and the United States hailed progress after the end of the last round of negotiations in Qatar last month but Western diplomats familiar with discussions say that many tough hurdles lie ahead.
The US side is expected to push hard for a ceasefire between Taliban militants and foreign-backed Afghan forces before any agreement on the withdrawal of US-led foreign troops.
Taliban officials say they want all foreign troops out before a ceasefire, but would still welcome non-military foreign help to re-build the country.
Washington is also seeking more details on fresh assurances from the Taliban that it would not allow Afghanistan to be used by groups such as al-Qaeda and Islamic State to attack the United States and its allies, Western diplomats said.
It is also pushing hard for the Taliban to talk to the Afghan government, which it has so far shut out of talks, branding it as a puppet of Washington.
US President Donald Trump used his State of the Union address last week to say progress in negotiations with the Taliban would allow a reduction in the approximately 14,000 U.S. troops currently in Afghanistan and a renewed "focus on counter terrorism."
---with input from Reuters