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Doha talks: Taliban say move closer to deal with US

Doha talks: Taliban say move closer to deal with US

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Aug 27, 2019 - 23:58

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Talibaninfo-icon on Tuesday claimed moving closer to a deal with the US on Tuesday during ongoing talks in the Qatari capital Doha.

The optimism came during the fifth day of talks in Qatar between the two sides as negotiators wrangled over individual words and phrases in a draft deal.

 “We have progress in this round so we are finalising the remaining points,” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told journalists outside the upmarket Doha members' club where the talks are taking place.

He said a deal could be expected “as soon as the remaining points are finalised”.

Addressing US war veterans, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he could not predict how the talks would end, President Donald Trump “is committed to make sure that we get it right.”

 “His clear guidance to me and to my military colleagues is this — we want to get our folks home as fast and in as large numbers as we can, and we want to make sure that never again is terror struck on the United States,” Pompeo said.

 “So I believe we can and will accomplish both of these, and we will honour your labours and your sacrifices in this fight,” he told the American Legion's national convention in Indianapolis.

The Doha negotiations — the ninth round between the United States and the Taliban — are being held against a backdrop of persistent violence in Afghanistaninfo-icon.

Chief US negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad tweeted Monday that Washington would “defend Afghan forces now and after any agreement” with the group.

He was responding to suggestions a deal might not apply to the insurgents' fight against the US-backed Afghan government.

He also wrote that all sides in the negotiations had agreed “Afghanistan's future will be determined in intra-Afghan negotiations”.

Shaheen said “all internal issues” would be discussed in intra-Afghan talks after the Doha agreement is completed and made public.

The four pillars of any Taliban-US deal are expected to be the withdrawal of foreign troops, a ceasefire, counter-terror guarantees and intra-Afghan dialogue.

PANinfo-icon Monitor/ma

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