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Afghanistan, Taliban Begin First-Ever Direct Peace Talks

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The Afghanistan government and the Taliban began on Saturday their first direct talks to end nearly two decades of fighting, a negotiation brokered by the U.S. as part of its plan to withdraw from its longest war.

Officials from the warring sides have convened in Doha, Qatar’s capital, for the talks, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attending the opening ceremony.

“Today is a truly momentous occasion,” Mr. Pompeo said at the ceremony. “Afghans have at long last chosen to sit together and chart a new course for your country. This is a moment to dare to hope.”

In the face of steep odds, Afghanistan’s leaders said they want to put the country’s conflict behind them.

“We have come here with good will and good intentions,” Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the Afghan government delegation, said in opening remarks Saturday morning. “We want all of the people of Afghanistan to be reunited under one roof again.”

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