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liban officials on Saturday said that US negotiators have agreed to a draft peace deal which stipulates the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan within 18 months of the agreement being signed. The details were provided to Reuters by Taliban sources at the end of six days of talks with US special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Qatar.
Talks ending the 17 year old Afghan war.>> We have enemy pinned down here in the south.>> The United States currently has some 14,000 troops in Afghanistan. Details of the deal have yet to be confirmed by US officials. Neither side has released an official statement. As part of the deal, the Taliban sources said they offered assurances that Afghanistan will not be allowed to be used by Al Qaeda and Islamic State militants to attack the United States and its allies, a key demand of Washington.
News of progress on the deal comes as the Taliban, a hardline Islamic group that controls nearly half of Afghanistan, continues to stage nearly daily attacks against the Western-backed Afghan government and its security forces. Earlier this week the Taliban attacked an Afghan military compound, killing over 100 security forces, one of the most deadly insurgent attacks in months.
The Taliban says they will finalize a timeline for a ceasefire in Afghanistan, but will only open up talks with Afghan representatives once the ceasefire is implemented. Sources told Reuters that Khalilzad will now head to Kabul to brief Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on the talks. It is not known if a draft acceptable to both sides has been completed or when it might take effect.