WASHINGTON: The two-day talks between the United States and the Afghan Taliban will begin today, with US government officials saying talks with the Taliban are being held in the national interest, but not with the intention of recognizing the Taliban.

According to US media, two-day talks between a high-level US delegation and the Taliban will begin in Qatar today. The US delegation will include State Department, intelligence and USAID officials.

For the first time since the withdrawal from Afghanistan, the United States is going to negotiate with the Taliban. The talks will demand the release of Mark Friesz, a kidnapped American citizen from the Taliban. The safe withdrawal of American citizens from Afghanistan is also among the demands.

The talks will also address human rights issues in Afghanistan with the Taliban, as well as narrowing the field on al-Qaeda, ISIS and other terrorist groups.

According to US media reports, US Special Representative Zalmai Khalilzad is not part of the US delegation, which also includes State Department Deputy Special Representative Tom West and USAID human rights official Sarah Charles.

US government officials say the talks are aimed at advancing contacts with the Taliban, which are being held in the national interest, but are not intended to recognize the Taliban.

Government officials further said that the Taliban will have a detailed discussion on human rights and women’s issues, the Taliban will have to gain the support of the world through its behavior.

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