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Taliban indicated a willingness to strike a peace deal: Zalmay Khalilzad

Afghan Taliban and US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad. Photograph:( ANI )

ANI New Delhi, India Aug 03, 2019, 01.33 PM (IST)

The Taliban have indicated that they are willing to sign the peace agreement, US Special Representative for Peace in Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad said on Friday.

"The Taliban are signaling they would like to conclude an agreement. We are ready for a good agreement", Khalilzad wrote on Twitter.

The Ambassador arrived in Qatar`s capital city of Doha earlier in the day for a crucial round of peace negotiations between the US and the Taliban aimed at ending the 18 year long war in Afghanistan.

The two sides are getting closer to a deal centered around the latter`s promise to withdraw its troops from the war torn country, in exchange for the guarantee by the former that the Afghan soil, particularly the areas under the Taliban`s control, would not become a platform for transnational terrorism.

In a separate tweet, Khalilzad said that the US sees the deal as a "peace agreement" and the withdrawal of its troops would be "conditions based".

"Just got to #Doha to resume talks with the Taliban. We are pursuing a #peace agreement not a withdrawal agreement; a peace agreement that enables withdrawal. Our presence in #Afghanistan is conditions-based, and any withdrawal will be conditions-based," Khalilzad wrote.

Suhail Shaheen, the spokesperson for the Taliban's political office in Qatar, had recently told the Voice of America that they are hopeful of reaching an agreement with the United States during the upcoming talks.

Shaheen added that the Taliban negotiators have done their part and it is now up to the American side whether they have "made up their mind" and take the next step of winding up the dialogue process.

Understandably, once the agreement between the US and the Taliban is inked, it will require the latter to immediately enter into negotiations with Afghan stakeholders.

It may be noted that the Taliban, so far, have consistently refused to hold direct talks with President Ashraf Ghani's government, denouncing it as a puppet administration. 

Story highlights

The Ambassador arrived in Qatar`s capital city of Doha earlier in the day for a crucial round of peace negotiations between the US and the Taliban aimed at ending the 18 year long war in Afghanistan.