After wrapping up the ninth round of Doha talks, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, said that the United States and the Taliban have reached an agreement in principle, but it is not final until US President Trump agrees on it. The two sides have held nine rounds of talks in the past ten months.
In an interview given to TOLO news, Mr. Khalilzad confirmed that, based on the draft agreement, the US will withdraw 5,000 troops from five bases in Afghanistan within 135 days if conditions in the agreement are addressed by the Taliban.
“Yes, we have reached an agreement in principle, Of course, it is not final until the US president (Donald Trump) agrees on it. So, at the moment, we are at that stage.” Mr. Khalilzad told TOLO news.
Giving details on the agreement, Mr Khalizad revealed that, as part of the agreement, at the first stage, the provinces of Kabul and Parwan where the Bagram Airfield is located will see a reduction in violence.
Mr. Khalilzad said the return of an Islamic emirate, the term used for the Taliban’s governance system, by force is not acceptable. A possible return of an Islamic emirate as part of a peace deal between the US and the Taliban has been a much-debated topic which increases concerns about the loss of achievements the country has made in the last eighteen years.
Finally, Mr. Khalilzad said that president Trump will decide at what level the deal will be signed between the officials from the two sides. “If one side’s ideas are tried to be endorsed by force on the others, the result will be a war,” Mr. Khalilzad said.