The Taliban political chief, who headed the group’s delegation during the latest round of peace talks with the United States, has said he is optimistic and assured Afghans that they had no reason to fear a settlement.

“We are very hopeful for the peace talks, because the latest round had some good dialogues which paved the way to more progress regarding peace in the future,” Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar said on Thursday in an eight-minute audio tape of an interview conducted by the Taliban and posted online.

The latest round of talks in Qatar lasted 16 days and ended on Tuesday, with officials from both sides saying that progress had been made, but there was no agreement on when foreign troops might be withdrawn.

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