Home South Asia Afghanistan US, Taliban finalize troops’ pullout time frame

US, Taliban finalize troops’ pullout time frame

Taliban’s Chief Spokesperson Suhail Shaheen confirmed on August 23 that both the parties have agreed upon the time frame for the withdrawal of forces from to end the nearly eighteen-year war in Afghanistan. “Discussions are now focused on its implementation mechanism,” he said.

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News Desk |

Is it the end of the United States government’s longest war in Afghanistan? As per the media reports the US and the Afghan Taliban have reached an agreement on a time frame of the pullout of foreign forces from Afghanistan.

According to Dawn, Taliban’s Chief Spokesperson Suhail Shaheen has confirmed on August 23 that both the parties have agreed upon the time frame for the withdrawal of forces from to end the nearly eighteen-year war in Afghanistan.

“We have an agreement on a time frame for the withdrawal”’ the spokesperson told Dawn from Doha over the phone. “Discussions are now focused on its implementation mechanism.”

Washington is looking for a dignified exit after a nearly two-decade-long war in Afghanistan, which has dragged more and more US troops into the conflict.

“We have had general discussions today,” he said about the day two of the ninth round of talks between the US and the Taliban representatives that started on August 22 in Qatar. “Tomorrow, we shall have discussions on the implementation part.”

Time Frame for Withdrawal?

Shaheen did not say anything about the time frame, the paper said, adding the Afghan media however has quoted Taliban sources as telling them that the time frame of withdrawal of US troops would be between 15 months and two years.

He avoided to confirm the time frame, saying a formal announcement would come when both sides agreed on the implementation mechanism.

While the US has so far not said anything about the time frame, a State Department official told AFP that US special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad and his team “have made progress on advancing a peace process”.

Read more: Trump is satisfied with Afghan Peace Deal despite growing tensions

Washington is hoping to strike an agreement with the Taliban by Sept 1 — ahead of Afghan polls due the same month, and US presidential polls due in 2020.

“We’ve been there [in Afghanistan] for 18 years, it’s ridiculous,” US President Donald Trump told reporters on August 20. “We are negotiating with the government and we are negotiating with the Taliban. We have good talks going and we will see what happens.”

Taliban do not Recognize Afghan Government, Counts it only a Key Player in Peace Talks

The paper reported that the US and the Taliban have held eight rounds of negotiations in the past year on issues, including a US troop withdrawal, a ceasefire, intra-Afghan negotiations to follow and Taliban guarantees that Afghanistan will not be a launchpad for global terror attacks.

The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad had revealed in March the four main issues of the peace agreement that the parties have agreed upon. In a Tweet, the Special Representative had stated: “Peace requires agreement on four issues: counter-terrorism assurances, troop withdrawal, intra-Afghan dialogue, and a comprehensive ceasefire. In January talks, we “agreed in principle” on these four elements. We’re now “agreed in draft” on the first two.”

Meanwhile, Dawn report revealed that the Taliban refuse to recognize the Ashraf Ghani government but have been saying that they would sit for an “intra-Afghan dialogue” as part-II of the overall peace agreement once they reached an agreement with the US on troop withdrawal time frame. “Taliban say they recognize the Afghan government as a key player only,” the paper stated.

US says PM Khan ‘Incredibly Crucial’ for Afghan Peace Deal

Earlier this month, the US said that Prime Minister Imran Khan is “incredibly crucial” in helping Washington to sign a peace deal in the war-torn Afghanistan.

While acknowledging the importance of Islamabad in the ongoing Afghan reconciliation process, the US State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said: “Prime Minister Khan is going to be incredibly crucial in helping us with these – with this peace deal and with this peace negotiation that continues”.

During a press briefing, the US state department spokesperson said that “when he [PM Khan] was here in Washington, the President and the Secretary alluded to that as well, how important that relationship will be in helping us pursue peace in Afghanistan.”

Read more: 9th Round of Peace talks continue tonight – Taliban, US on cusp of deal

It is relevant to note that PM Khan had earlier said that he had assured US President Donald Trump that Pakistan would do ‘whatever is in its power to facilitate the Afghan peace process’. He had also said that he would meet the Afghan Taliban to convince them for a peace deal.

Washington is looking for a dignified exit after a nearly two-decade-long war in Afghanistan, which has dragged more and more US troops into the conflict.

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