KABUL: The Taliban and Afghan government officials have held two secret meetings since September in Qatar in a bid to restart long-stalled peace negotiations, sources said on Tuesday. An Afghan official said the two rounds of discussions took place in Doha, where the Taliban maintain a political office. The Guardian said the talks were attended by Mullah Abdul Manan Akhund, brother of Taliban founder and long-time leader Mullah Omar who died in 2013. The Afghan Taliban officials, based in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the talks had led to very little in terms of progress. They added that US officials were part of the process, although they did not specify whether they were directly involved in talks. Afghan and US officials demanded that the Taliban declared a ceasefire, laid down arms and started formal peace talks, said the UAE-based official. In response, he said, Taliban officials demanded that the group be officially recognised as a political movement, its leaders’ names be removed from a UN blacklist and all prisoners be released. “Like our previous meetings, it was a waste of time and resources, as we could not achieve anything from the meeting,” said the UAE-based official. A spokesman at the US embassy in Kabul declined to comment on the issue, and referred questions to Washington. Responding to the newspaper’s article, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid dismissed reports of the meeting, saying they were propaganda aimed at creating divisions within the insurgency. A spokesman for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani would not confirm or deny any recent talks in Qatar when asked, but added: “We will use all possible ways in order to reach a lasting peace in the country.” The Taliban and the US government have so far not commented officially on the development. Over the last year, Pakistan — the Taliban’s historic backers — have hosted several rounds of international talks to jumpstart peace negotiations, which yielded little progress. The dialogue process ground to a complete halt when the US killed former Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour in a drone strike in May. The insurgency has shown stubborn resilience under new Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhundzada, attacking northern Kunduz city for a second time and threatening the capital of the southern opium-rich province of Helmand. Masoom Stanekzai, Afghanistan’s intelligence chief, and National Security Advisor Hanif Atmar attended one of the Qatar meetings, local Tolo television said citing a presidential palace source. “In Afghanistan war and peace go hand in hand,” another Afghan official said, confirming the Qatar meetings. “While the government is fighting the Taliban we are simultaneously trying to talk to them,” he added.