A fresh round of U.S.-Taliban peace talks will start in Qatar’s capital Doha on Saturday, officials said, describing it to be the “most crucial” phase of negotiations to end the 18-year war in Afghanistan, ONA reports citing Reuters.
Senior officials privy to the talks said a peace agreement could be expected at the end of the eighth round of talks and would enable foreign forces to be withdrawn from the war-torn country.
Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. peace envoy for Afghanistan who has held a series of meetings with Taliban leaders since last year, reached Doha on Friday night.
“Just got to Doha to resume talks with the Taliban. We are pursuing a peace agreement not a withdrawal agreement,” Khalilzad wrote on Twitter.
“A peace agreement that enables withdrawal. Our (U.S.) presence in Afghanistan is conditions-based, and any withdrawal will be conditions-based,” he said, adding the Taliban are signaling they would conclude an agreement.
“We are ready for a good agreement.”