Taliban say talks focus on US withdrawal from Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD (AP) — The Taliban say their latest talks with the U.S. envoy focused on the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan, the release of prisoners and halting attacks on civilians by pro-government forces.

U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad met with the Taliban this week in the United Arab Emirates, with Saudi, Pakistani and Emirati officials also participating. The Afghan government sent a delegation to the UAE but it did not take part in the talks.

Khalilzad tweeted Wednesday that the talks were “productive,” without mentioning the Taliban by name.

Since being appointed in September, Khalilzad has met with all sides to try to restart peace talks aimed at ending America’s longest war.

The Taliban control nearly half of Afghanistan, and are more powerful than at any time since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion.

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