'Tired' Taliban want peace deal with US: President Trump

PTI Washington, United States Feb 23, 2020, 10.27 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( AFP )

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Just before his departure for India, Trump told reporters at the White House that the time had come for the US troops to 'come home'.

The Taliban in Afghanistan are "tired" of fighting and want to make a peace deal with America, President Donald Trump said on Sunday as he left for his maiden visit to India, days ahead of a possible agreement between the US and the militant group in the war-torn country.

Just before his departure for India, Trump told reporters at the White House that the time had come for the US troops to "come home".

"We've been over there 19 years. We think they want to make a deal. We want to make a deal. I think it's going to work out," Trump said in response to a question on the peace deal with the Taliban.

"Time to come home. We want to make a deal and we think the Taliban want to make a deal too. They're tired of fighting," he said.

The President said he would sign a peace deal with the Taliban if it worked out over the next week.

"I want to see how this period of a week works out. If it works out over the next less-than-a-week, I would put my name on it," he said.

Trump's remarks came a day after the US and the Afghan Taliban started a seven-day partial truce ahead of a possible peace deal to end more than 18-year-long war, raising hopes for a resolution to America's longest war.

The agreement struck during talks between the US and the Taliban, if maintained, may secure a peace deal that would lead to a withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.

In November, Trump announced the resumption of peace talks with the Taliban but refused to give a timeline for the drawdown of the US troops from Afghanistan, as he made an unannounced visit to American soldiers stationed in the war-torn country.

After nine rounds of negotiations with the Taliban, Trump announced in September that he was calling the peace talks off after a US service member was killed in a suicide attack in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul.

The US currently has less than 14,000 troops in Afghanistan, but military officials would not confirm the exact number.

Trump is accompanied by First Lady Melania, daughter Ivanka, son-in-law Jared Kushner and the top brass of his administration on his maiden visit to India.

During his visit, the two countries will significantly ramp up bilateral defence and strategic ties.

The nearly 36-hour-long visit by Trump is also set to send across a clear message of growing congruence of interests on major geopolitical developments in the region and beyond, particularly when China has been expanding its military might and economic clout.