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Mumbai, Kerala play out 1-1 draw in Hero ISL        Have some thoughts for T20 World Cup, will discuss with Kohli and Shastri: Ganguly        RBI keep repo rate unchanged        Saudi Aramco raises USD 25.6 bn in largest-ever IPO        Iran informs UN about determination to continue Ballistic Missile Program        Next Hearings in Trump Impeachment Process Scheduled on Monday - House Judiciary Committee        Burundi: 38 killed in landslide in Cibitoke        Naidu condemns attack on Unnao rape survivor        1984 riots: Javadekar slams Manmohan Singh, says if Rao was so bad, why did you become FM under him?        The Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill 2019 returned to Lok Sabha        Govt clueless on how to tackle economic slowdown, FM statement on onion shows their mindset: Chidambaram        Rajya Sabha passes bill to amend SPG Act, Shah rejects charge of political vendetta, Cong stages walkout        Kerala shocked by plight of poor mother, six children        Rupee ends steady ahead of RBI policy outcome        HC asks Ker govt to take control of Church        Not difficult working with Sena compared to BJP: Pawar        India conducts fresh night trial of Prithvi-2 missile        Three directors of PMC Bank arrested        Quinta Brunson to star in HBO Max's single-camera comedy        David Kerr to helm 'Joy To The World'        
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International News
US hails talks with Taliban, denies troop withdrawal window
 
Kabul, Jul 6 (AP) The latest round of talks with the Taliban - now in their second week - has been "very productive," a member of the American negotiating team said Friday, while strenuously denying Washington sought a fixed deadline for the withdrawal of its estimated 14,000 troops from Afghanistan as part of a final peace deal.

Negotiations have had fresh momentum in recent weeks after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, at the end of last month. At the time, he said Washington was hopeful of an agreement before September 1.

The appointment last year of Zalmay Khalilzad as a US special peace envoy began the accelerated effort to find a negotiated end to Afghanistan's war and America's longest military engagement.

Since then Khalilzad has held scores of talks with the Afghan government in Kabul and abroad, with the Taliban as well as with Afghanistan's neighbours including Pakistan which has been accused of aiding the insurgents.

The US official in Qatar's capital, Doha, where the Taliban maintain a political office and talks are being held, told The Associated Press that the US "definitely did not offer" an 18-month withdrawal as part of a peace deal.

Speaking anonymously because of the sensitivity of the talks, the US negotiator was responding to a timeframe Taliban officials told the AP months earlier.

The US negotiator said the deal being negotiated in Doha with the Taliban is "comprehensive and includes specifics on all four parts including a cease fire, timeline, participating in intra-Afghan negotiations and counter-terrorism assurances."

On Saturday, several prominent Afghan figures left Kabul for Doha ahead of much-anticipated all-Afghan talks to begin on Sunday. The talks are co-sponsored by Germany and Qatar, and include the Taliban.

An earlier round of intra-Afghan talks, which were to be held last April, were scuttled after the two sides could not agree on participants. The Afghan government had submitted a list of 250 people. The Taliban likened it to a wedding party.

This time the Taliban say 60 people will participate.

Attaullah Rahman Salim, the deputy head of the government's high peace council, said 64 would be sitting around the table.

The list includes former mujahedeen who fought the Soviet in the 1980s as well as former government officials, former ambassadors, civil society representatives and a smattering of women.

Participants at the table will be there as ordinary Afghans "on equal footing" and not as government representatives, said the German sponsors.

The Taliban who have consistently refused to hold direct talks with President Ashraf Ghani's government calling it a puppet administration. They have, however, readily agreed to talks with any Afghan, including from within the government, but as an ordinary Afghan.

Ghani, who has been conspicuously quiet about the upcoming intra-Afghan dialogue, has consistently demanded Taliban talk directly with the government


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ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
Quinta Brunson to star in HBO Max's single-camera comedy
 Los Angeles: Actor-comedienne Qunita Brunson is set to play the lead role in a untitled single-camer  
David Kerr to helm 'Joy To The World'
Questlove to make directorial debut with 'Black Woodstock'
Taapsee Pannu to feature in Mithali Raj biopic
KERALA NEWS
Kerala shocked by plight of poor mother, six children
 Thiruvananthapuram: This hapless mother was unable to find food to fill the little stomach of her ch
Kerala: Youth hurled down by Policeman during vehicle checking, seriously injured
Kerala High Court takes suo moto case against lawyers protested against magistrate
School girl killed of snakebite: Separate demonstrations by YC, SFI turns violent, police resorts to lathicharge
NATIONAL NEWS
Naidu condemns attack on Unnao rape survivor
 New Delhi: Rajya Sabha chairman and Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu condemned the incident in which a
1984 riots: Javadekar slams Manmohan Singh, says if Rao was so bad, why did you become FM under him?
The Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill 2019 returned to Lok Sabha
India conducts fresh night trial of Prithvi-2 missile
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