After more than a decade of war in Afghanistan, and nearly three years of sputtering and unsuccessful attempts at talks, the United States will open formal negotiations with the Taliban this week aimed at ending insurgent attacks, officials said Tuesday.
The new dialogue, with a Taliban delegation that U.S. officials said has been authorized by Taliban leader Mohammad Omar, will begin Thursday in Doha, the Qatari capital. The United States will be represented by senior State Department and White House officials.
The Obama administration has long sought to put in place a process for political negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government before the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan at the end of 2014. Senior administration officials called the agreement to open a Taliban political office in Doha a “milestone” on the road to ending the bloody and long-running conflict.
But the officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity in advance of a public announcement, cautioned that they did not expect immediate results from the negotiations.
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