No agreement with Taliban on withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan: Khalilzad

KABUL: US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad on Monday briefed Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and other government officials regarding his recent talks with the Taliban in Qatar and said there was no agreement on the demand of the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Afghanistan. The Afghan president’s office in a statement quoted Khalilzad as saying he held talks about a ceasefire with the Taliban but that there was no progress yet on that issue. The Taliban demanded from Khalilzad the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Afghanistan, but that there was no agreement on that, the statement added. It also said that Ghani thanked Khalilzad and praised US efforts to restart negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban. There was no immediate comment from Khalilzad or the US Embassy. Khalilzad had earlier remarked that there was “significant progress” in talks with the Taliban.

Khalilzad arrived in Kabul on Sunday to try to secure cooperation from Afghanistan’s president after breakthroughs in peace negotiations with Taliban leaders in Qatar.

Six days of talks ended in Qatar on Saturday with key parts of a draft pact mapped out, including an 18-month timeline for the withdrawal of foreign troops after the completion of a deal, according to Taliban officials.

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