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Afghan president says peace coming but outsiders can’t decide future

Afghan president says peace coming but outsiders can’t decide future”

Talks on a pact that would allow the United States to end its longest war and withdraw troops from Afghanistan ended on Monday without agreement and both sides would consult their leaders on the next steps, the Taliban said.

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According to Zabihullah Mujahid, the eighth round of talks, which had been taking place in Doha, finished after midnight.

A Taliban spokesman had said last week that this eighth round of talks would conclude with a deal to end the almost 18-year war, America's longest.

The Taliban has so far refused to negotiate with the Western-backed government in Kabul, calling it a "puppet regime".

The US negotiators were demanding that the Taliban announce a ceasefire and start direct talks with the Afghan government, Reuters reported.

But on August 11, as Afghans were marking the Muslim festival of Eid Al-Adha, U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad expressed hope that "this is the last Eid where Afghanistan is at war".

Furthermore, Ambassador Khalilzad said "Many scholars believe that the deeper meaning of Eid al-Hadha is to sacrifice one's ego".

"After so many years of conflict here in Afghanistan, we now see the prospect to make real progress toward to a settlement that will bring peace", US Ambassador to Afghanistan John Bass said in an Eid message to Afghans.

On Sunday, President Ashraf Ghani on after Eid prayers at the Presidential Palace assured that peace was coming to the country and there is no doubt in it. "The fate of Afghanistan will be decided here in Afghanistan", he said. "We don't want anyone to intervene in our affairs".

"Bloodshed should stop, and peace should be established in Afghanistan", said Khan Mohammad, a Wardak resident.

The Taliban control roughly half of Afghanistan and are at their strongest since the USA -led invasion toppled their five-year government in 2001 after the group had harbored al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

Without a Taliban commitment to power-sharing talks and a ceasefire, there are fears the insurgents will fight on when USA forces leave in a bid to overthrow the government.

US officials didn't immediately comment. The U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation formally concluded their combat mission in 2014, but around 20,000 American and allied troops remain in the country.



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