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US-Taliban Deal Would See Washington Pull Troops From Five Bases

US-Taliban Deal Would See Washington Pull Troops From Five Bases

Tuesday, 3 September, 2019 - 08:30
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani meets with U.S. special representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad in Kabul, Afghanistan September 2, 2019. Afghan Presidential Palace/Handout via REUTERS

Washington would withdraw almost 5,000 troops from Afghanistan and close five bases within 135 days under a draft peace accord agreed with the Taliban, the chief US negotiator, Zalmay Khalilzad, said on Monday.

The deal, reached after months of negotiations with representatives from the insurgent movement, must still be approved by US President Donald Trump before it can be signed, Khalilzad said, Reuters reported.

“In principle, we have got there,” he said. “The document is closed.”

In exchange, Taliban would commit not to allow Afghanistan to be used by militant groups such as al Qaeda or ISIS as a base for attacks on US and its allies.

For his part, Khalilzad said the deal aims to end the war and to reduce violence, however, there was no formal ceasefire agreement.

According to Reuters, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has been briefed on a draft of the accord and will look at details of the deal before giving an opinion, his spokesman said.

Ghani met Khalilzad and will “study and assess” details of the draft, spokesman Sediq Sediqqi told reporters earlier on Monday.

“But for us, a meaningful peace or a path to a meaningful peace is the end of violence and direct negotiation with the Taliban,” he added.

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