Talks between Afghanistan and Taliban hailed as "important first step"

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Nicholas Haysom. Photo: Fardin Waezi / UNAMA

Direct talks between representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban have been labelled an "important first step" on the road to peace.

Nicholas Haysom, the UN representative in Afghanistan, welcomed the discussions which took place on Tuesday in Pakistan's capital, Islamabad.

For the past 20 years the extremist Taliban group have been a threat to stability in Afghanistan.

Last month the group launched a deadly attack on parliament.

Dianne Penn reports.

In a statement, Mr Haysom described face-to-face engagement as "the only way to achieve progress towards a negotiated agreement and ultimately the peace that Afghanistan deserves."

However, the UN envoy acknowledged that the talks were only what he called "the first steps in what could be a long and challenging process."

Mr. Haysom also expressed appreciation for the two sides for taking "this important first step."

He also thanked the Pakistani authorities for hosting the meeting.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 31"

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