Historic peace talks between Afghan govt and Taliban begin

Historic peace talks between Afghan govt and Taliban begin
After months of delay, the first peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban are all set to begin in Qatar on Saturday.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the meeting "historic" as he flew to Doha for the opening ceremony.

The talks had originally been slated to start in March but were repeatedly pushed back amid disputes over a prisoner exchange that included the release of hundreds of battle-hardened Taliban fighters.

The insurgents, the Afghan government and Qatari officials all confirmed on Thursday the talks would begin Saturday following an opening ceremony in Doha.

Qatar's foreign ministry said the talks "are a serious and important step towards establishing sustainable peace in Afghanistan".

The talks come as Trump faces uncertain prospects in the November 03 election and he has pushed hard to pull back US forces from Afghanistan, where they rose to more than 12,000 under his watch to pressure the Taliban and Daesh.

On the other hand, in February, the release of 5,000 Taliban militants was part of a peace deal reached by the US and the Taliban. It was meant to pave the way for talks between the Afghan authorities and the Taliban.

In August, the Afghan government began to free the final 400 Taliban prisoners, after the move was approved by an Afghan grand assembly of elders.

Following a US led invasion in Afghanistan, the Taliban were removed from power in 2001.