US Talks With Afghan Taliban Continuing From Where They Had Left Off- Spokesperson

KABUL (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 04th December, 2019) Peace talks between the United States and the Afghan Taliban movement are restarting from where they previously left off, the Taliban's spokesperson Sohail Shaheen said.

"As you know, the agreement was finalized and only the signatures were left, if peace talks start so [they] would begin where they stopped," Shaheen said in a voice-over message obtained by Sputnik on Tuesday.

US President Donald Trump announced the resumption of talks with the Taliban radical movement last month, as he arrived in Afghanistan on a surprise visit to greet American troops and meet his Afghan counterpart Ashraf Ghani.

Shaheen said that according to the Taliban, the prisoner exchanges between the Taliban, the United States, and the Afghan government have significantly contributed to the resumption of the peace talks.

Last week, a senior US administration official told Sputnik that the United States was going to focus on reducing violence in its negotiations with the Afghan Taliban movement and, if successful, will broaden the scope of talks to include discussion of a peace deal for the war-torn country.

On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke by phone with Afghanistan's Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah about attempts to negotiate a peace agreement with the Taliban.

According to the US State Department, Pompeo thanked Abdullah for supporting the release of Taliban hostages Kevin King and Timothy Weeks, professors at American University in Kabul, after three years as hostages.

The prisoner swap last month, which included three Taliban prisoners held by Afghanistan, was widely portrayed as an effort to restart stalled peace talks.

Peace talks between the US and the Taliban have repeatedly stalled with most recent talks falling through in September after a Taliban explosion killed a US soldier in Afghanistan.