U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad says he will leave Qatar for India on August 5 following three days of talks with the Taliban to end the nearly 18-year war in Afghanistan.
Khalilzad tweeted that the eighth round of talks between U.S. and Taliban negotiators in the Qatari capital, Doha, “focused on the remaining issues in completing a potential deal with the Taliban that would allow for a conditions-based troop withdrawal.”
“We have made excellent progress,” he wrote.
NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on August 6 that there was a genuine possibility of peace in Afghanistan.
"We now see a real chance for peace in Afghanistan, we are closer to a peace deal than ever before," Stoltenberg told reporters in New Zealand.
Meanwhile, the U.S. envoy said in a separate tweet that he will travel to New Delhi later in the day for “pre-scheduled meetings to further build international consensus” in support of the Afghan peace process.
Khalilzad also said that his team will continue to discuss with Taliban representatives “technical details as well as steps and mechanisms required for a [successful] implementation of the four-part agreement” the sides have been working toward since his appointment last year.
A bilateral U.S.-Taliban agreement would cover the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan in exchange for guarantees by the Taliban not to harbor terrorist groups.
Such a deal would be followed by intra-Afghan peace negotiations on a political settlement and a permanent cease-fire.
The Taliban has said it will only negotiate with the Western-backed Kabul government when Washington commits to withdrawing its troops.
Based on reporting by Reuters