The Afghan Taliban and the United States have reached an agreement on a time frame of pullout of foreign forces from Afghanistan, Taliban chief spokesperson Suhail Shaheen said on Friday.
“We have an agreement on a time frame for the withdrawal”’ he told a newspaper from Doha over the phone, adding “Discussions are now focused on its implementation mechanism.”
The US and the Taliban have held eight rounds of negotiations in the past year on issues, including a US troop withdrawal, a ceasefire, intra-Afghan negotiations to follow and Taliban guarantees that Afghanistan will not be a launch pad for global terror attacks.
Doha talks focused on implementation mechanism, says Taliban spokesperson
While the US has so far not said anything about the time frame, a State Department official said that US special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad and his team “have made progress on advancing a peace process”.
Washington is hoping to strike an agreement with the Taliban by Sept 1, ahead of Afghan polls due the same month, and US presidential polls due in 2020.
“We’ve been there [in Afghanistan] for 18 years, it’s ridiculous,” US President Donald Trump told reporters on Tuesday. “We are negotiating with the government and we are negotiating with the Taliban. We have good talks going and we will see what happens.”
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday night asserted that his government would see the final draft of a US-Taliban agreement for a “comprehensive discussion” before it was signed.