Kabul says representatives from the Afghan government and the Taliban militant group may hold face-to-face talks later in February.
Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmad Shakib Mostaghani made the announcement on Sunday, saying the government hoped to “put an end to the futile violence which is imposed on our people.”
The Taliban militancy started out in 1996 and eroded away the country’s security. It worsened in the aftermath of the United States’ 2001 invasion of Afghanistan.
Pakistan, which reportedly wields influence over the militants, mediated the first round of the peace talks between Kabul and the Taliban in the summer of 2015. The negotiations, though, did not last into their second day after news broke that Taliban’s founder and long-time leader Mullah Omar had died two years before.
The peace process was re-launched last month with representatives from the two countries, China, and the US in attendance. The quartet, which seeks to pave the way for peace talks, held their third meeting on Saturday, when they agreed on a road-map toward negotiations. The next four-country meeting is scheduled for February 23 in Kabul.
Taliban has managed to capture some key areas in the north and south of Afghanistan. The militants also carry out attacks in the capital.
Late last month, the group reportedly asked to be removed from the United Nations blacklist and thus be enabled to freely send representatives around the world as a condition for rejoining peace talks.