00:58 GMT16 January 2021
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    MOSCOW, (Sputnik) - NATO welcomes the breakthrough that the Afghan government and the Taliban have reached in Qatar's Doha, as the sides finalized the agreement on the framework of the peace talks, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday.

    Earlier in the day, Nader Nadery, a member of the Afghan government's negotiating team, announced that both sides had agreed on the rules and procedures governing the ongoing peace negotiations, adding that items on the agenda could now be discussed.

    "We welcome the breakthrough in Doha. This is one step towards a lasting political, peaceful resolution of the conflict, the war in Afghanistan and all NATO allies strongly support the peace progress, and now we would like to see more progress and we need to see rapid progress both on establishing a political roadmap but not least on the important issue of a comprehensive ceasefire," Stoltenberg said at a news conference following the two-day NATO meeting.

    According to the NATO chief, the agreement demonstrates that the parties are able to advance "even on tough and difficult issues," which is important.

    "Afghans want peace, they deserve peace, and of course for all NATO allies and partners who have been in Afghanistan for nearly two decades, we are very much welcoming any progress towards a peaceful political solution," Stoltenberg added.

    The long-awaited peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban have been launched in the Qatari capital in mid-September, although progress has been slow amid a series of disagreements. The country has since witnessed a surge in violence, including armed clashes and bomb blasts, in a number of provinces.

    Taliban, Afghan War, NATO
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