A United States envoy and the Taliban have resumed negotiations on Afghanistan after earlier signalling they were close to a deal to end America's longest war.
The US and the Taliban have held eight previous rounds of negotiations in the past year on issues including a US troop withdrawal, a ceasefire, intra-Afghan negotiations to follow and Taliban guarantees that Afghanistan will not be a launch pad for global terror attacks.
A Taliban member said US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad also met one-on-one Wednesday with the Taliban's lead negotiator, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.
Some in Afghanistan fear that Taliban fighters who reject a deal with the US could migrate to other militant groups such as the brutal local affiliate of the Islamic State group, which claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at a Kabul wedding over the weekend that killed at least 80 people.
That attack raised fears among Afghans that a US-Taliban deal will bring little peace for long-suffering civilians who have died by the tens of thousands in the past decade alone.
President Donald Trump, who wants to bring home troops before next year's election, was briefed on the negotiations on Friday.
This week, Trump said it was "ridiculous" that US troops have been in the country for almost 18 years.
Two US service members were killed on Wednesday, joining more than 2,400 US service personnel who have died since the US-led invasion in 2001.
The US and NATO formally concluded their combat mission in 2014, but American and allied troops remain, conducting strikes on the Islamic State group and the Taliban and working to train and build the Afghan military.
The prospect of a troop withdrawal has created widespread concern that another civil war in Afghanistan could follow as various armed parties jostle for power.
The Taliban, which now control roughly half of Afghanistan, have dismissed the Afghan government as a US puppet but have repeatedly offered talks with anyone who comes to the table as an ordinary Afghan.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday night asserted that his government will see the final draft of a US-Taliban agreement for a "comprehensive discussion" before it is signed.
Australian Associated Press