Taliban leader Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhunzada said Sunday that the Taliban "strenuously favors a political settlement" in Afghanistan as the peace talks continue with the Afghan government delegation in Qatar, the Associated Press reports.
Why it matters: Despite how the conciliatory words may sound, no peace deal appears imminent. Taliban and government forces are still fighting in dozens of provinces across Afghanistan, per AP.
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State of play: The Taliban has rapidly gained territory in Afghanistan since the United States began its military withdrawal, which will conclude on Aug. 31.
The U.S. intelligence community has warned that the Afghan government could collapse as soon as next year as the Taliban's battlefield offensive grows.
The big picture: Meetings between the two sides took place over Saturday and Sunday, just days ahead of Eid al-Adha, which in many parts of the world begins Tuesday.
U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad had previously expressed hope for a possible ceasefire ahead of the holiday.
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