Dozens of powerful Afghans resumed talks with the Taliban on Monday, July 8 in Doha, where a possible ceasefire is on the table along with key issues such as women’s rights.
Stakes are high for the talks which follow a week of U.S.-Taliban negotiations with both sides eyeing a resolution to the bloody 18-year conflict.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted that the Afghan gathering “has been a long time coming” and praised the country’s “government, civil society, women, and Taliban” for coming together.
Washington has said it wants to seal a political deal with the Taliban ahead of Afghan presidential polls due in September to allow foreign forces to begin to withdraw.
Around 70 delegates are attending the two-day gathering which has been organized by Germany and Qatar.
“History will remember those who were able to set their differences aside for the sake of the country” said Germany envoy Markus Potzel as he opened the gathering Sunday.
A German source confirmed the second day of talks got underway just before 0600 GMT.
Delegate Asila Wardak, a member of the High Peace Council established by former president Hamid Karzai to engage with Taliban elements, said “everybody is emphasizing on a ceasefire” during Sunday’s session.
The Taliban spoke about “women’s role, economic development, [and] the role of minorities” in a future settlement, she added.
Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said on Twitter that he looked “forward to a constructive dialogue.”
The so-called intra-Afghan meetings follow six days of direct U.S.-Taliban talks that have been put on hold for the two day Afghan conference and are set to resume Tuesday, according to both sides.