US, Taliban and Qatar officials seen during a meeting in Doha, Qatar [Qatari Foreign Ministry/Handout via Reuters]

After 16 days of talks in the Qatari capital Doha, US and Taliban negotiators have wrapped up their longest round of negotiations on March 12, signalling concrete progress towards a peace deal to end the 17-year-old war in Afghanistan.

Following the marathon talks, both Taliban and US representatives voiced optimism about the future of negotiations and announced that they already produced a “draft” agreement on two key issues – the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s pledge to cut ties with al-Qaeda and other terror groups. However, the sides also acknowledged that significant progress needs to be made on other thorny issues before the

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