Aug. 12 (UPI) -- United States and Taliban negotiators have ended their eighth round of peace talks in Qatar without a deal, but both sides agreed to consult with their leaders about next steps.
Representatives have been in discussions on ending America's longest war, going on 18 years after terrorists attacked New York and Washington, D.C., in 2001. The Trump administration has offered to remove its 14,000 troops from Afghanistan in exchange for the country's promise not to allow the country to be used as a training ground for terrorists.
The Taliban, though, has refused to negotiate with the Western-backed Afghanistan government until the troops are removed, calling the government a puppet of the United States. The United States has insisted on power-sharing talks.
"We've concluded this round of talks that started Aug. 3 between the U.S.and the Taliban," U.S. Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad tweeted Sunday. "Over the last few days, the two sides focused on technical details. They were productive. I am on my way back to D.C. to consult on next steps."
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid agreed that it will also talk to its leaders on how to move forward.
"Work was tedious and effective," Mujahid said on social media. "Both sides agreed to consult their respective leaderships for next steps."
The talks came at the end of Islamic holiday Eid al-Hadha, also called the Festival of Sacrifice, which is celebrated by Muslims around the world. Khalilzad noted the occasion in a Twitter post about negotiations.
"Many scholars believe that the deeper meaning of Eid al-Hadha is to sacrifice one's ego," Khalilzad wrote. "Leaders on all sides of the war in Afghanistan must take this to heart as we strive for peace.
"Eid Mubarak. I hope this is the last Eid where Afghanistan is at war. I know Afghans yearn for peace. We stand with them and are working hard toward a lasting and honorable peace agreement and a sovereign Afghanistan which poses no threat to any other country," he continued.
"Peace is the demand of every Afghan and there is no doubt that peace is coming," Ghani said. "A peace with dignity of each Afghan."