Negotiations between the United States and the Taliban, held in Qatar last week, have led to an apparent breakthrough, potentially paving the way for an end to a 17-year conflict.
America’s envoy in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, confirmed in an interview with The New York Times that the two sides have agreed in principle to a peace agreement, under which the Taliban must agree to enter direct talks with the Afghan government.
The framework lays out a path for the US to withdraw troops in exchange for a pledge that the Taliban would guarantee territory in the country is not used by terrorists.
“We have a draft of the framework that has to be fleshed out before it becomes an agreement,” Khalilzad said. “The Taliban have committed, to our satisfaction, to do what is necessary that would prevent Afghanistan from ever becoming a platform for international terrorist groups or individuals.”
“We felt enough confidence that we said we need to get this fleshed out, and details need to be worked out,” he added.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said in a nationally televised address on Monday that the process for a peace agreement must be led by the country’s government.
“I call on the Taliban to […] show their Afghan will, and accept Afghans’ demand for peace, and enter serious talks with the Afghan government,” Ghani said in a nationally televised address, per CBS news.
“We want peace, we want it fast but we want it with a plan,” Ghani stressed.
“We should not forget that the victims of this war are Afghans and the peace process should also be Afghan-led […] No Afghan wants foreign troops to remain in their country indefinitely. No Afghan wants to face suicide attacks in hospitals, schools, the mosques, and parks.” ATIMES