DOHA -- Dozens of powerful Afghans resumed talks with the Taliban Monday (July 8) in Doha, Qatar, where a possible ceasefire is on the table along with key issues such as women's rights.
Stakes are high for the talks that follow a week of US-Taliban negotiations with both sides eyeing a resolution to the bloody 18-year conflict.
The Afghan gathering "has been a long time coming", tweeted US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who praised the country's "government, civil society, women, and Taliban" for coming together.
About 70 delegates are attending the two-day gathering organised by Germany and Qatar.
"History will remember those who were able to set their differences aside for the sake of the country," said Germany envoy Markus Potzel as he opened the gathering on Sunday (July 7).
"Everybody is emphasising a ceasefire," said Asila Wardak, a member of the High Peace Council, during Sunday's session.
The Taliban spoke about "women's role, economic development, [and] the role of minorities" in a future settlement, she added.
Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al-Thani said on Twitter that he looked "forward to a constructive dialogue".
The intra-Afghan meetings follow six days of direct US-Taliban talks that have been put on hold for the two-day Afghan conference and are set to resume on Tuesday (July 9), according to both sides.
The latest round of US-Taliban talks has "been the most productive of the rounds we've had with the Talibs", US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said Saturday (July 6).
The Taliban said they were "happy with progress".
The United States is not participating directly in the two-day Afghan summit, which is being attended by political representatives, government officials and at least six women.
Sunday and Monday's gathering is the third such meeting following summits in Moscow in February and May.