US envoy meets with Afghan leader

Source:AFP Published: 2019/9/2 20:58:40

The US envoy leading efforts to forge a deal with the Taliban has met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul, officials said Monday, as a historic agreement with the insurgents appeared close.

Zalmay Khalilzad has spent about one year meeting with the Taliban in Doha in a series of talks aimed at ending the US' 18-year-old war in Afghanistan.

The deal centers on a US troop withdrawal in return for several security guarantees from the Taliban, broader peace talks between the insurgents and the Afghan government, and an eventual cease-fire.

Khalilzad arrived in Kabul Sunday evening following a ninth round of talks up with the Taliban in the Qatari capital.

He met with Ghani then and on Monday, when he showed the Afghan leader a draft of the US-Taliban agreement, officials said.

"We will look into the document and discussions with Amb Khalilzad and team will continue," Ghani's advisor Waheed Omar tweeted, adding that additional details would be provided later in the day.

Afghanistan's Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said in a statement he too had been briefed and assured of "a thorough and sustainable peace in Afghanistan".

The discussions are significant because the Afghan government has been largely sidelined from talks until now, though any eventual deal would require the Taliban to talk to Ghani, whom they view as a US stooge.

On Sunday, Khalilzad said the US and the Taliban were at the "threshold" of a deal that would reduce violence and pave the way for "sustainable" peace.

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