Taliban agreement would see US Afghan troop presence hugely reduced

Taliban agreement would see US Afghan troop presence hugely reduced
The Taliban have promised to renounce terrorism, the US to slash troop numbers in Afghanistan.
2 min read
02 August, 2019
US troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan [Getty]
A landmark peace deal being negotiated between the Taliban and US could see American troop numbers in Afghanistan slashed, according to reports.

The Washington Post reported that the first phase of the deal would US troop numbers in Afghanistan drop from 8,000 from their current level of around 14,000.

In return, the Taliban would have to renounce terrorism - including one-time ally Al-Qaeda - and stick to a ceasefire, following almost two decades of fighting between the two sides.

The Taliban would also be required to agree a separate peace deal with the Afghan government, something the movement has refused to do.

"I would say that they are 80 or 90 percent of the way there," one official told the paper. "But there is still a long way to go on that last 10 or 20 percent."
An Afghan official last week indicated that the Kabul government was preparing for direct talks with the Taliban, possibly in Norway.

US Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted a link to the Post article and later wrote: "I hope any agreement will be a good deal for America that protects our homeland, our allies, and our interests."

The UN has said it wants to see a deal inked by 1 September, in time for presidential elections, but any deal requires the Taliban to talk to Kabul.
Meanwhile, US media have reported that leading Al-Qaeda figure Hamza bin Laden, son of the group's founder Osama, is dead.