Taliban says deal with US can be signed before end of this month: Report

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jan 18, 2020, 05.18 PM(IST) Edited By: Abhilash Mahajan

File photo Photograph:( Zee News Network )

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The chief spokesperson's comments came after Taliban is in talks with the US this week in Doha. 

Taiban said on Friday that the insurgent group is "optimistic" of signing a deal with the United States by the end of this month.

Taliban had also agreed to "scale down" military operations in Afghanistan in order to provide a safe environment for withdrawal of foreign forces from the region, Taliban chief spokesperson Suhail Shaheen told Pakistani daily Dawn. 

Also read: Taliban open to 10-day ceasefire with US, talks with Afghan government: Report

“We have agreed to scale down military operations in days leading up to the signing of the peace agreement with the United States,” Shaheen, said. 

Also read: US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad briefs Pakistan on Taliban peace talks

Shaheen said that the purpose behind the move is "to provide safe environment to foreign forces to withdraw from Afghanistan”.  

Also read: US announces a pause in peace talks with Taliban after airbase attack

The chief spokesperson's comments came after Taliban is in talks with the US this week in Doha. 

Shaheen, however, said that there is no agreement on ceasefire. 

"The scaling down will be blanket and shall include all forces including state forces,” Shaheen added. 

Shaheen also said that the draft peace agreement is ready. 

“It’s now a matter of days", said the spokesperson, adding that the group is "optimistic" that the deal could be signed before the end of this month. 

Afghan Presidential Palace said that it is unaware of the deal and affirmed that they need to be taken into confidence before finalising any agreement. 

Taliban and the US had been working on a peace deal for a year and were on the brink of an announcement in September 2019 when President Donald Trump called off the process after a US soldier was killed in an attack. 

Talks were restarted late in November 2019 after Trump made a surprise visit to Afghanistan. However, an attack near the Bagram military base once again halted the talks.  

So far, the Taliban has not negotiated with the Afghanistan government as it considers the regime as "illegitimate". 

(with inputs from agencies)