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'Progress in talks expected' : Khalilzad on Doha tour

<p id="content">Zalmay Khalilzad, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, headed to Doha today as the two Afghan negotiating teams are struggling to finalize ground rules for talks.</p>
"Headed back to Doha and the region to meet with partners on Afghan-owned, Afghan-led peace negotiations and prospects for increased regional connectivity, trade, and development following peace," Khalilzad tweeted.

Khalilzad also said that the international community and Afghan people are watching and expect the teams to make progress.

"The Afghan people and international community are watching closely and expect the negotiations to make progress toward producing a roadmap for Afghanistan's political future and a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire," Khalilzad tweeted.

Critics have suggested that a mediator might be needed in the negotiations, as the contact groups of both sides of the Afghan peace talks have discussed the rules many times over the last 20 days but have not reached an agreement, Tolo news reported.

The procedural rules for the negotiations have over 20 articles. The two sides have agreed on 18 of them.

According to negotiators from both sides, two articles are still disputed: the foundational religious jurisprudence for the talks, and the recognition of February's US-Taliban deal as the overarching authority to which these Afghan peace negotiations are subject.

The last time the contact groups of both sides of the peace negotiations met was Monday evening. The meeting lasted for hours but could not achieve an agreement on the rules and regulations, according to negotiators..