The US delegation and the Taliban, on the last day of the fifth round of Doha talks, drafted an agreement on combating terrorism and the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, TOLOnews reported, citing sources. The media outlet has not, however, specified the details of the deal, only saying that it was a document written in the English and Pashtu languages.
According to the outlet, the sources confirmed that the Taliban had agreed to cut ties with all terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda*, and join in the fight against them.
However, the sources noted that nothing has been signed between the United States and Taliban, as Washington continues to promote its negotiation formula stating that "nothing is agreed until everything is agreed."
Meanwhile, Reuters reported, citing sources, that no deal on the timeline for the pullout of foreign troops has been reached. As the news agency mentioned, the sides will meet for the next round of talks in the near future.
The Russian Foreign Ministry previously said that the second meeting of the inter-Afghan dialogue is also planned to be held in Qatar in late March. The Foreign Ministry of Qatar has not yet been able to confirm to Sputnik the dates for hosting this event or who will take part in it.
Thus, the timeline for the withdrawal of US troop from the country is unknown, but it is expected that two American bases will remain in Afghanistan.
Commenting on the deal, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad stated that the peace agreement requires agreement on four issues.
"Peace requires agreement on four issues: counter-terrorism assurances, troop withdrawal, intra-Afghan dialogue and a comprehensive ceasefire," Khalilzad said via Twitter. "In January talks, we 'agreed in principle' on these four elements. We're now 'agreed in draft' on the first two."
US Operation in Afghanistan
The United States has been conducting a military operation against the Taliban and other groups in Afghanistan since 2001. This is the longest military conflict that the US has been involved in. A new round of talks between the United States and the Taliban in Doha began on 25 February. Earlier, the Khalilzad said that the negotiations between the American and Taliban delegations in Doha were productive.
The Taliban movement has been one of the major forces opposing Kabul in the latter's long-standing confrontation with various rebel and terror groups. The Taliban seized power in the country in 1996, and the United States deployed its troops to Afghanistan in 2001 to fight al-Qaeda in retaliation for the 9/11 attacks. The US troops eventually overthrew the insurgents, saying that the country had become a safe haven for al-Qaeda while insurgents were in power.
While most of the US troops left Afghanistan by the end of 2014, Washington continues to support the Afghan armed forces in combating terrorism.
*al-Qaeda — a terrorist group, banned in numerous states, including Russia