WASHINGTON, Dec 18: US Army General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met Taliban negotiators this week in Qatar amid the ongoing American troops pullout from Afghanistan, according to media reports.
The reports on Thursday said that Milley had a two-and-a-half-hour meeting with Taliban negotiators in Doha on Tuesday as part of efforts to broker a negotiated peace settlement between the Afghan government and the militant group, Xinhua news agency reported.
The Pentagon's top military officer then flew to Kabul on Wednesday to discuss the peace process with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
"The most important part of the discussions I had with both the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan was the need for an immediate reduction in violence," Milley told reporters.
"Everything else hinges on that," he added.
Milley's trip came amid rising violence in southern parts of Afghanistan and an ongoing drawdown of the US troops in the country.
On December 11, the US military in Afghanistan said that it had carried out a strike against Taliban fighters in Kandahar province.
The war in Afghanistan, which has caused about 2,400 US military casualties, is the longest one in American history.
President Donald Trump has long sought a full withdrawal from the country, but some of his senior aides from the military and the Pentagon suggested a condition-based withdrawal, a more cautious approach.
Currently, there are approximately 4,500 US troops in Afghanistan.
The Pentagon last month confirmed that US troops in Afghanistan will be reduced to a 2,500 level by mid-January 2021.
On February 29, the US and the Taliban signed an agreement, which called for a full withdrawal of American military forces from Afghanistan by May 2021, if the militant group meets the conditions of the deal, including severing ties with terrorist groups. - IANS