The Kabul Times.
Politics

US & Taliban reach agreement on most issues

By: Lailuma

US delegates led by Zalmay Khalilzad and representatives of the Taliban group have reached agreement on most issues relevant to peace and talks between the two sides are still going on. Ninth round of talks between the sides started days ago in Doha, capital of Qatar.
Both sides have agreed that all foreign forces are set to withdraw within 15 – 20 months from Afghanistan. Based on reports, both sides will soon reach to final agreement. It seems that the peace agreement will be signed during this week and might be declared somewhere in Washington, Kabul or Norway.
President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani in his recent remarks has said that any kind of peace agreement will be executed by Afghanistan government. Speaking in a program held at Tolonews, the country’s President by pointing to ongoing talks in Qatar said final and principal decision on peace would be taken in direct talks between Afghanistan government and the Taliban group.
“Without our presence, who can sign the peace agreement? What is the legal process of an agreement between a government a non-government organ? The principal partner of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is the US and NATO, with whose we have clear agreements,” President Ghani said.
Afghanistan government has recently announced a 15-member delegation for intra-Afghan dialogue. Currently, Afghanistan state ministry for peace affairs says debates are underway to prioritize issues that should be discussed in intra-Afghan dialogue between Afghans and Taliban negotiators.
“We will use all means and opportunities and are working hard to prepare the negotiating team for talks with the Taliban group,” said Najia Anwari, a spokesperson to the state ministry for peace affairs.
Based on reports, the 15-member delegation have been told to get ready for the intra-Afghan dialogue as some members of the team have already had some meetings with representatives of the Taliban group. US sources in Doha have said the US special peace envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad will share results of his team’s talks with Afghanistan government.
Based on reports, US would like to reach to final agreement with the Taliban group prior to 1st September. If this happens, it means that both sides reach to peace agreement before the upcoming presidential elections set to be held on 28 September.
Meanwhile, John Bass, US ambassador to Kabul, has said that peace in Afghanistan is in US top priority, adding that if the ongoing peace process faced with problems, the upcoming presidential elections would happen.
During his visit to Mazar-e-Sharif and meeting with governor of Balkh Ishaq Rahgozar, US ambassador added US was making effort to pave an opportunity for Afghans to sit and solve their problems and reach an acceptable peace agreement.
It is worth mentioning that the ninth round of talks between the US delegates and representatives of the Taliban group are still going on in Doha, capital city of Qatar. US special peace envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad has considered the talks as positive. 

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The Kabul Times.