Afghanistan: US, Taliban reach agreement ‘in principle’

KABUL (TCA) — The Taliban has agreed “in principle” that any Afghan territory it controls in the future will not be used as a safe haven for terrorists to launch attacks against the United States and its allies, U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad told RFE/RL.

Khalilzad told RFE/RL in an exclusive interview on September 2 that U.S. and Taliban negotiators had also agreed on the gradual “reduction and withdrawal” of Western forces from Afghanistan.

“That would depend on the situation on the ground,” the envoy said in the telephone interview from Kabul.

“We have reached an agreement with the Taliban in principle,” Khalilzad said, adding that the draft deal was nearing to bring “a total and permanent cease-fire” in Afghanistan.

However, he pointed out that the agreement, reached after several rounds of U.S.-Taliban negotiations in Qatar, wasn’t final until U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to it.

Talking to Afghan broadcaster TOLOnews on September 2, Khalilzad said that based on the draft agreement, the US will withdraw 5,000 troops from five bases in Afghanistan within 135 days if conditions in the agreement are addressed by the Taliban.

The US envoy said that as part of the agreement, at the first stage, the provinces of Kabul and Parwan – where the Bagram Airfield is located – will see a reduction in violence.

Khalilzad also said the return of an Islamic emirate, the term used for the Taliban’s governance system, by force is not acceptable.

A possible return of an Islamic emirate as part of a peace deal between the US and the Taliban has been a much-debated topic which increases concerns about the loss of achievements the country has made in the last eighteen years.

Sergey Kwan


Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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