US, Taliban Reportedly Finalise Draft of Peace Deal to End 17-Year War

© REUTERS / StringerA member of the Taliban insurgent
A member of the Taliban insurgent - Sputnik International
The talks to finalise the agreement were held in Qatar, where the Taliban has a political office, and lasted six days - more than originally planned, according to Reuters.

Taliban representatives and US authorities finalised a proposed deal during the course of six days of negotiations in Qatar that would put an end to the Afghan war, which has raged in the country for 17 years, Reuters reported on Saturday, citing Taliban sources. 

According to the source, the agreement highlights that the deal includes guarantees that al-Qaeda* and Daesh* will not be able to use Afghanistan as a base for terrorism. 

Moreover, the deal urges teh foreign military forces that are present in the central Asian country to withdraw within 18 months, the source added.

After the negotiations, US special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad is expected to inform President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul about the achieved progress. 

The US embassy in Kabul has not yet confirmed the reports on the draft agreement and the envoy's visit to Afghanistan's capital. 

READ MORE: US Air Force Escalated Bombing Campaign on Taliban by 35 Percent in November

On January 25, The New York Times reported, citing sources, that the US and the Taliban were nearing an agreement envisaging the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan in exchange for the insurgents' pledge to prevent terrorist organisations like al-Qaeda  from infiltrating the country ever again. 

U.S. soldiers patrol the perimeter of a weapons cache four miles of the US military base in Bagram, Afghanistan (File) - Sputnik International
US Discusses Possibility of Keeping Bases in Afghanistan With Taliban – Report
Afghanistan is currently suffering from an unstable political, social and security situation due to the activity of the Taliban and Daesh*. The Taliban, an Islamic insurgent group, seized power in the country in 1996. The United States deployed its troops to Afghanistan in 2001 to fight al-Qaeda in retaliation for the 9/11 attacks, saying that the country had become a safe haven for the terrorist network while the insurgents were in power. The US troops eventually overthrew the Islamists.

While most of the US troops had been withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, Washington continues to support the Afghan armed forces in combating terrorism.

*al-Qaeda and Daesh are terrorist groups, banned in Russia

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