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US-Taliban discussions come to an agreement in draft between the two sides

US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad says the conditions for peace have improved

The fifth round of the talks between the US and Taliban negotiators in Qatar ended after 16 days on Tuesday with agreement in draft between the two sides on some key issues under debate.

Hours after the news broke on Qatar talks, US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad said in a tweet that he wrapped up a marathon round of talks with Taliban in Doha.

Khalilzad said peace requires agreement on four issues: counter terrorism assurances, troop withdrawal, intra-Afghan dialogue, and a comprehensive ceasefire.

“In January talks, we “agreed in principle” on these four elements. We’re now “agreed in draft” on the first two,” he said in a tweet.

He said the conditions for peace have improved and that it is clear all sides want to end the war. “Despite ups and downs, we kept things on track and made real strides,” he said.

Khalilzad said when the agreement in draft about a withdrawal timeline and effective counterterrorism measures is finalized, the Taliban and other Afghans, including the government, will begin intra-Afghan negotiations on a political settlement and comprehensive ceasefire.

“My next step is discussions in Washington and consultations with other partners. We will meet again soon, and there is no final agreement until everything is agreed,” Khalilzad concluded.

Meanwhile, Taliban said in a statement that the United States and Taliban had deep discussions on two issues agreed in January.

The group said no deal has been signed by the negotiating teams and that they will come together after consulting their leaderships about the current developments.

A couple of US bases are expected to remain in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, a meeting between a number of Afghan politicians and the Taliban, which was expected to be held in the next two weeks, has been delayed.

Tolo News

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