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‘It would be best if intra-Afghan talks began while US still has significant military presence’ – envoy

‘It would be best if intra-Afghan talks began while US still has significant military presence’ – envoy

The United States has heard positive reports about the formation of an inclusive Afghan government, US Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad said on Friday, adding that a new date for intra-Afghan peace talks is under discussion.

Speaking to reporters on a conference call, Khalilzad said it would be best if intra-Afghan talks began while there is still a significant US military presence in Afghanistan, Reuters reported.

The pace of prisoner releases and disagreements over the Afghan government’s composition have both helped delay intra-Afghan talks, which were to begin on March 10 under a February 29 US-Taliban agreement for the withdrawal of US troops.

Two attacks in Afghanistan on Tuesday have raised questions about whether the US peace effort may collapse. One attack, on a Kabul hospital’s maternity ward, killed 24 people, and another, at a funeral in eastern Afghanistan, killed 32. Khalilzad repeated the US assessment that an affiliate of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) militant group was responsible for both attacks.