A new phase of peace talks between the US and Afghanistan’s insurgent group, the Taliban, is going to begin on Saturday (August 3rd). Officials have mentioned the talks as the most important step which will be held in the Qatar capital Doha. They believe that foreign troops will be withdrawn from the country by signing a peace agreement after the talks. British news agency Reuters reported that the two sides could sign the agreement before August 13.
US and Taliban representatives started talks in Doha from last year to end the Afghan war that lasted 18 years. So far, no peace treaty has been announced despite the two-party talks in seven phases.
US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad arrived in Doha Friday night to discuss the new steps. He wrote on Twitter that day, I had reached Doha to resume talks with the Taliban. We are trying for a peace agreement, not a withdrawal agreement. He also wrote that only the peace agreement would effect the withdrawal. Our (US) presence in Afghanistan is conditional and any withdrawal will also be conditional. We are ready for a good deal.
Reuters reported, according to two sources familiar with the negotiations, that an agreement to withdraw foreign troops in exchange for security assurances from the Taliban is expected to be signed before August 13.
Currently, there are 20,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan. Most of them are from the United States. The military is present in the country under a NATO-led mission to train, assist and advise Afghan forces.