16:54 GMT04 March 2021
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    The movement and American officials have been holding talks in Doha for almost a year, but US President Donald Trump announced their collapse in September after the group had claimed responsibility for an assault in Kabul that killed a US serviceman.

    Taliban representatives met with US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, during his visit to Islamabad, Reuters reported on Friday, citing two anonymous sources.

    "Taliban officials held a meeting with Zalmay Khalilzad... all I can tell you is that Pakistan played a big role in it, to convince them how important it was for the peace process", an unnamed government official told the news agency, while another source confirmed his words.

    According to the report, the hour-long meeting did not involve formal negotiations, aiming just to establish a relationship between the two sides.

    The White House has yet to comment on the claims.

    Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad
    © AP Photo / Jacquelyn Martin
    Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad

    This is the first report of contact between the Taliban and Washington after the last round of negotiations in Doha finished on 1 September. According to Khalilzad, Washington and the Taliban were "on the threshold of an agreement" before the cancellation.

    After that, the Taliban warned that Americans "will suffer more than anyone else" for their decision, claiming it would lead to "further losses of US lives". Trump responded by stating that after the breakdown of the negotiations, the US military hit the enemy "harder than they have ever been hit before and that will continue".

    In the meantime, the movement clashed with the Afghani government across the country. At least 32 people were killed in over 30 separate attacks during the presidential elections in Afghanistan, which the Taliban refuses to recognise, stating that the authorities in Kabul are under the control of Washington.


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