QATAR: President Donald Trump’s special envoy for Afghanistan said Monday that the US and the Taliban have reached an agreement “in principle,” pending final approval by the President.
Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad told Afghanistan’s TOLOnews that a draft agreement will see the US pull troops from five bases across Afghanistan within 135 days as long as the Taliban meets conditions set in the agreement.
If the deal proceeds, the withdrawals could mark the beginning of the end of America’s longest-running war, a nearly 18-year conflict triggered by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that has cost billions in taxpayer dollars and cost more than 2,300 American lives.
The agreement could lead to the gradual draw down of all of the almost 14,000 US troops in the country, fulfilling a longstanding goal and campaign pledge of the President’s, just as the most intense period of the 2020 election campaign gets underway.
“Yes, we have reached an agreement in principle,” Khalilzad said, according to TOLOnews. “Of course, it is not final until the US president (Donald Trump) agrees on it. So, at the moment, we are at that stage.”
Khalilzad said the US will not accept a return of the Taliban’s strict Islamic governing system, and said the Trump administration wants a government to be formed after the intra Afghan peace talks that would be agreed upon by all Afghans.