Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 24 May 2019

Taliban denies it agreed to a timetable for US withdrawal from Afghanistan

The hardline group has just concluded six days of peace talks with US negotiators

US special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad. AFP
US special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad. AFP

A Taliban spokesman has denied that the group agreed with US officials to an 18-month withdrawal period for foreign forces from Afghanistan during peace talks in Qatar.

“These reports are untrue, 18 months has never been proposed,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

On Saturday, Taliban sources told Reuters that they had agreed on a draft peace agreement with US negotiators that did include an 18 month timeline for the withdrawal of troops.

The details of the draft were given to Reuters by Taliban sources at the end of six days of talks with US special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Qatar aimed at ending the war, more than 17 years since American-led forces invaded Afghanistan.

It stipulates that troops would leave within 18 months of the agreement being signed.

While no joint statement was issued, Mr Khalilzad tweeted later that the talks had made "significant progress" and would resume shortly, adding that he planned to travel to Afghanistan to meet government officials.

"Meetings here were more productive than they have been in the past. We made significant progress on vital issues," Mr Khalilzad wrote on Twitter.

"We will build on the momentum and resume talks shortly. We have a number of issues left to work out," he tweeted.

"Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, and 'everything' must include an intra-Afghan dialogue and comprehensive ceasefire."

Updated: January 27, 2019 03:42 PM

SHARE

SHARE