London, June 19 (ANI): The United States is to open direct talks with Taliban leaders within days.
The development comes after Washington agreed to drop a series of preconditions that have previously held back negotiations over the future of Afghanistan.
According to the Guardian, political representatives of the Taliban will meet Afghan and US officials in Doha, the capital of Qatar.
They will have discussions on peace and reconciliation before further talks take place with Afghan government representatives soon after.
The move came on the day that NATO forces handed official control of nationwide security to Afghan troops.
The U.S. has agreed that a formal rejection of al-Qaeda by the Taliban leadership would now be a negotiating aim rather than a precondition for talks.
It will also seek a commitment from the Taliban to end its insurgency in Afghanistan and recognise women's rights in the country.
According to the report, White House officials said the US would have a direct role in the talks, but the substantive negotiations over the future of Afghanistan would then be led by the Afghan Government, the report said.
The proposal for a Doha office has been on the table since 2011, and several senior Taliban figures have been living in Qatar for many months now, but the group had not publicly embraced plans for peace talks, the report added. (ANI)