US-Taliban peace talks concludes: Agreement in draft on troop withdrawal
Doha, March 13: The crucial fifth round of talks between the US negotiators and Taliban concluded on Tuesday, March 12, and Afghanistan-based TOLOnews said citing sources that the two sides have arrived at a consensus on a draft document concerning the withdrawal of American troops from the war-ravaged country.
Hours after news of the two sides reaching an agreement broke, US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad said in a tweet that he concluded a marathon round of talks with the Taliban in the Qatar capital. The latest round of talks continued for 16 days.
Khalilzad said peace in Afghanistan required agreement on four issues and they are counterterrorism assurances; troops 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," the US negotiator said in a tweet.
Khalilzad further said that when the agreement in draft about a timeline for withdrawal and effective counterterrorism measure is finalised, the Taliban and other Afghans, including the Kabul government, will begin intra-Afghan negotiations on a political consensus and comprehensive ceasefire.
The US attacked Afghanistan in October 2001 in the wake of the 9/11 attacks the month before and it has remained stuck in the South Asian nation since then.