US peace envoy hints at inking accord with Taliban

  • 19:50 31 July 2019

US peace envoy hints at inking accord with Taliban

The top U.S. peace envoy for Afghanistan on Wednesday hinted at signing a peace deal with the Taliban soon, ONA reports citing Anadolu Agency.

Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, left Kabul for Islamabad on Wednesday en route to Doha.

"Wrapping up my most productive visit to #Afghanistan since I took this job as Special Rep. The U.S. and Afghanistan have agreed on next steps. And a negotiating team and technical support group are being finalized", he said in a Twitter post.

“.. if the Taliban do their part, we will do ours, and conclude the agreement we have been working on,” he said.

In a major revelation, an Afghan official announced on Saturday that the much-awaited face-to-face talks with the Taliban will start within the next two weeks in a European nation.

State Minister for Peace Affairs Abdul Salam Rahimi -- a close aide to President Ashraf Ghani -- said in a statement that a 15-member team including religious scholars, women and civil society members representing Kabul at the proposed talks has been finalised.

Rahimi also called for immediate reduction in violence across the country.

However, Khalilzad and the Taliban were quick to clarify the remarks of the Afghan official.

Washington's top peace envoy said on Sunday the intra-Afghan negotiations will only occur after the U.S. and Taliban conclude their agreement.

Suhail Shaheen, spokesman for the Taliban's Qatar office, said in this connection that the intra-Afghan dialogue would begin after the timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops is announced.

Afghanistan has witnessed an evident surge in violence this month.

Ilkin Jalilov