US, Taliban ‘likely to sign peace deal’ next week
KABUL: A senior member of the Taliban, Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwah, says the US and the Taliban negotiators will likely sign the much-awaited peace agreement after Eid al-Adha — at the end of this week.
In a recorded video published on Youtube, the Taliban member says the talks between the US and the group will continue after Eid al-Adha which ends on August 13.
He said that the peace deal between the US and the Taliban will be signed in the presence of representatives of the UN the Islamic Organization and regional countries after the return of the US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad to Doha after Eid (August 14).
“Discussions on other issues such as intra-Afghan negotiations will be made after that [the signing of the peace deal],” he said.
Mr. Khalilzad traveled to India from Qatar earlier this week and went to Norway after that where he held talks with Norwegian Foreign Minister Marie Eriksen Søreide and discussed Afghan peace.
Mr. Khalilzad said in a tweet on Friday that Norway is a global leader in facilitating negotiations and can help Afghanistan achieve peace.
The talks, according to Mr. Khalilzad, had not stopped and are underway in team level between the two sides.
The US Department of State said that Mr. Khalilzad is trying to bring all stakeholders to the table of negotiations.
“But at the same time, this is why we have Ambassador Khalilzad and some of the best people in the business trying to bring all sides to the table. It’s not just a – I think we spend a lot of time focusing on the negotiations that we have with the Taliban, but we’re also equally, incredibly focused on inter-Afghan dialogue,” said Morgan Ortagus, a spokesperson for US State Department.
This comes as Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim bin Hamid Al-Thani called US President Donald Trump on Thursday and discussed “strategic cooperation relations between the two countries and the latest regional and international developments,” state news agency, QNA reported, as quoted in a report by Reuters.
The two leaders also discussed the US-Taliban peace talks in Doha, QNA added, as quoted by Reuters.