(Voice of america): ISLAMABAD – An international rights group Friday demanded that peace talks between the United States and the Afghan Taliban must include a commitment by both sides to end all attacks on civilians in line with the laws of war. Amnesty International lamented in a statement that civilian casualties remain at near-record levels in Afghanistan, blaming them on both pro-government forces, including U.S.-led coalition partners, and Taliban insurgents. “They must commit to protecting civilians, and all attacks on civilians must be investigated and prosecuted,” it stressed. The statement came as American and Taliban representatives have been holding closed-door meetings in Qatar for the past few weeks, trying to resume their stalled negotiations to conclude a long-anticipated deal. But there has been no progress so far because both of the adversaries in the 18-year-old Afghan war seem to be sticking to their guns. Washington wants a “significant and lasting” drop in insurgent violence before a deal is signed, followed by a reduction in hostilities by all sides to pave the way for starting Taliban-Afghan negotiations over a nationwide cease-fire and power-sharing. The insurgent group, however has offered to scale back battlefield attacks for a brief period, reportedly up to 10 days, to sign the U.S.-Taliban deal, saying an extensive cease-fire with Afghan government forces would be one of the topics in intra-Afghan negotiations. The Taliban in a statement earlier this week accused Washington of wasting time by making new demands, saying they had already “shown flexibility” and “now the ball is in their [the Americans’] court.”