USA and Taliban agree draft framework for Afghanistan peace deal

See: US-Taliban talks: As hopes rise of a deal, what comes next?

"Afghans do not have any idea whether U.S. has changed its geo-politic approach towards Afghanistan or not", said one user who call himself Logar, the name of a province in the southeast of Kabul.

The draft deal was agreed after six days of talks in Qatar last week.

Taliban has been staging daily attacks targeting members of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), a war which has been causing thousands of casualties to the Afghan civilians and security forces since their ouster from power.

The Islamists' harbouring of Al-Qaeda and its leader Osama bin Laden were the rationale behind the U.S. invasion, weeks after the jihadist group carried out the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US.

The statement by U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad followed six days of talks last week with the Taliban in Qatar, where he urged the Islamic insurgent group to enter into direct negotiations with the government of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Key issues under discussion include a pledge from the Taliban to prevent Afghanistan from being used by terrorist groups such as Islamic State, the withdrawal of foreign troops, a ceasefire and direct Taliban talks with the Afghan government.

A spokesman for the Taliban also said that the negotiations "saw progress", although he insisted that "until the issue of withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan is agreed upon, progress in other issues is impossible".

Khalilzad did not confirm the statement - or his remarks to the Times - and there was no immediate comment from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

The peace negotiations in Doha, Qatar had previously been described on Saturday by Khalilzad as "more productive than they have been in the past", signaling the first significant shift in the geopolitical stalemate in years.

He said the deal could lead to a full pullout of U.S. troops in return for a cease-fire and Taliban talks with the Afghan government.


When will American-led forces be withdrawn from Afghanistan?

However the Taliban have long refused to speak directly to Ghani's government, branding them "puppets".

"Our commitment is to provide peace and to prevent any possible disaster", Mr Ghani said in his address to the nation on Monday.

U.S. President Donald Trump's clear eagerness to end America's longest war has also weighed heavy on the discussions.

Ghani has called for talks before, and outlined a peace plan previous year which included a ceasefire and bringing the insurgents into mainstream politics.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani assured his people that their rights would not be compromised in the name of peace with the Taliban. It added that Khalilzad has no authority to discuss such issues but that his goal is to facilitate an intra-Afghan dialogue - meaning direct talks between the Taliban and Kabul.

Pointing at the 18-month timeline during which the U.S.is expected to move toward withdrawing, former foreign secretary Shyam Saran said the "endgame" has begun in Afghanistan.

Afghan security forces are already taking staggering losses, with 45,000 killed since late 2014, and morale is low.

They have maintained they are prepared to talk with US officials only, and only about the pullout of foreign forces from Afghanistan.

In Monday's address to the nation, Ghani also stressed that United States and other foreign forces are in Afghanistan because they are needed here and that if there is to be any downsizing or pullout, the Kabul government will have to play a role in the talks.


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