Is peace possible? Taliban and Afghan government hold talks in Pakistan

First official peace talks end with agreement to continue peace efforts after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

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The Taliban has pressed on with its spring offensive despite the talks play

The Taliban has pressed on with its spring offensive despite the talks

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Pakistani officials have confirmed that the first officially acknowledged peace talks between the Afghan Taliban and the government in Kabul have concluded with an agreement to meet again after the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Pakistan hosted Tuesday's meeting in a step towards ending more than 13 years of war in Afghanistan, in which the Taliban have been fighting the government.

A statement from Pakistan’s foreign ministry say officials from the US and China were observers in the talks held in the town of Murree, a hill resort on the outskirts of Islamabad.

"The participants agreed to continue talks to create an environment conducive for peace and the reconciliation process," the Reuters news agency quoted the statement as saying.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who has pushed for the peace process and has encouraged closer ties with neighbouring Pakistan in a bid to achieve this goal, first announced the talks on Tuesday.

The talks have been described by Pakistani Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif as a "breakthrough", adding: "This process has to succeed."

Sharif cautioned in remarks released by his office that the effort would be difficult and said Afghanistan's neighbours and the international community should make sure "that nobody tries to derail this process".

In the past several months, there have been informal preliminary talks between Taliban representatives and Afghan figures, but Tuesday's talks were the first official meetings.

The Taliban's official spokesman has in the past disavowed the peace process, saying those meeting with Afghanistan's government were not authorised to do so.

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