Afghanistan: end of the last round of negotiations between the US and the Taliban

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (VOP TODAY NEWS) — Taliban and US negotiators concluded Sunday night their latest round of talks toward an agreement that would allow the United States to reduce its military presence in Afghanistan, the two sides said on Monday.

“We concluded this round of talks started on August 3,” tweeted US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad. The discussions were “positive” as both parties “focused on technical details”, he added.

After a few days in Doha, Mr. Khalilzad went to India, Germany and Norway. The leader of the Taliban delegation, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, had met with Uzbek diplomacy.

“I am on the way back to Washington for consultations on the next steps,” concluded the US envoy.

Earlier in the day, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid had tweeted that “both parties agreed to consult their respective leaders for next steps”, highlighting “the tedious and efficient work” done by the negotiating teams.

Despite the many speculations in Kabul, the United States and Taliban do not however indicate whether an agreement will be announced in the coming days.

On Sunday, Khalilzad said in a tweet that he hoped “this is the last Eid holiday where # Afghanistan is at war”, in reference to the festivities of Eid el-Kebir that opened in the Muslim world.

On Sunday, Mujahid spoke of the continuation of the talks, saying the Taliban were seeking to “meticulously draft and prepare the announcement of all the articles of the agreement in the light of (their) Islamic and national interests”.

Many Afghans have unsuccessfully hoped for a ceasefire for Eid al-Kebir. However, the level of violence has been relatively low in recent days.

United States and Taliban began direct talks a year ago. Washington wants to reduce the US military presence in Afghanistan, where 14,000 US troops are deployed.

The United States is mainly trying to put an end to the longest war in their history, which began in 2001, for which they spent more than 1,000 billion dollars. Donald Trump has repeated many times his desire to “bring the guys back home”.

In return, the Taliban would pledge to respect various safeguards, including that Afghanistan not become a safe haven for terrorist groups.

A US-Taliban agreement would not end the war, however, as the insurgents still have to enter into a formal peace agreement with the Kabul government.

On Monday, Afghan intelligence services (NDS) announced in a statement the release of 35 Taliban prisoners, “a clear sign of the government’s firm commitment to peace and the end of the war.”

Taliban and Afghan security forces periodically release enemy prisoners.

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