In an interview with The New York Times on 28 January, Zalmay Khalilzad – the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation – said that a draft framework for an eventual peace deal had been agreed in “principle” with the Taliban following direct talks between US and Taliban representatives in Qatar from 20–25 January 2019.
According to Khalilzad, the Taliban had agreed to ensuring that Afghan territory would not be used by international militant groups, a reference to the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda, in exchange for a phased withdrawal of foreign troops from the country.
Although the framework’s details were not disclosed, Taliban officials speaking anonymously to international media have suggested that it envisages an 18-month deadline for the full withdrawal of foreign troops before a formal ceasefire is agreed and an interim Afghan government is formed with Taliban representatives, probably to negotiate a new constitution.
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