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Pakistani Government, Taliban Hold First Direct Talks

The first face-to-face talks between the Pakistani government and Taliban leaders has taken place at a secret location in the country's northwest.

The March 26 meeting marked the first direct contact since the peace process began last year.

One of the Taliban negotiators, Maulana Samiul Haq, said the discussions lasted seven hours and would resume later in the week.

Haq described the talks as fruitful.

A Taliban spokesman said the parties "discussed all the issues, including how to exchange each other's prisoners and continue the cease-fire."

The Taliban announced a one-month cease-fire in February.

The government reciprocated by halting air strikes against the militants.

The talks are an effort to find a way to end violence that has claimed thousands of lives in recent years.
Based on reporting by AP and AFP

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