Taliban says US peace deal on the horizon

Taliban says US peace deal on the horizon
A spokesman for the Afghan Taliban has said that a peace deal between his group and the US is nearing, as both parties engage in talks in Doha.
2 min read
26 August, 2019

The Afghan Taliban on Monday said they are nearing a final peace deal with the US as the latest round of talks between the two parties continue in Qatar's capital, Doha.

The two sides hope to conclude the negotiations in coming days, Afghan Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told Anadolu.

"The US agreed to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan and resolve the Afghan issue peacefully," Shaheen said.

He gave no further details about the timeline of the US withdrawal.

The US and the Taliban are currently in their ninth round of negotiations to try and bring peace to the country which has been ravaged by conflict since the US-led invasion in 2001.

The Taliban has so far refused to talk with the Afghan government, which it says it does not recognise. Asked whether the Taliban would be open to future talks with the Kabul administration, Shaheen said:

"Of course we will talk with all Afghan sides. That also includes the Afghan administration but it will be one of the sides and a party of the conflict, not as the government."

The US, which invaded Afghanistan and toppled the Taliban from power in 2001 after the 11 September attacks, wants to withdraw thousands of troops but only in return for the group renouncing Al-Qaeda and curbing attacks.

Washington is hoping to strike an agreement with the Taliban by 1 September - ahead of Afghan polls due the same month, and US presidential polls next year.

The Doha talks are being held against a backdrop of persistent violence in Afghanistan.

The Taliban claimed on Saturday to have killed seven members of the US military in an attack on a convoy near Bagram airfield north of Kabul. American officials dismissed the claims as "lies".

On Wednesday, two US soldiers were killed by small arms fire in Faryab province in northern Afghanistan, the Pentagon said.

Shaheen, the Taliban spokesman, had said the deaths should have a "positive" impact on the talks in Doha.