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Khalilzad: US seeking ‘peace agreement’ with Taliban, not ‘withdrawal’ deal

Former U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad speaks at the inauguration of the Ghazi School in Kabul. (US Embassy Kabul Afghanistan/U.S. Department of State)
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This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The U.S. envoy seeking a peace deal with the Afghan Taliban has said Washington is seeking a “comprehensive peace agreement, not a withdrawal agreement” in its talks with the Taliban.

Zalmay Khalilzad tweeted the comments late on June 18 after a spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Qatar, Suhail Shaheen, wrote in a tweet that the United States had agreed to withdraw all its troops from Afghanistan.

Khalilzad has held six rounds of talks with the militant group in Qatar to end the nearly 18-year war in Afghanistan.

The sides have made progress, but the Taliban has so far rejected direct negotiations with the Western-backed government in Kabul.

“As we prepare for the next round of talks with the Taliban, important to remember we seek a comprehensive peace agreement, NOT a withdrawal agreement,” Khalilzad tweeted.

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The U.S. envoy wrote in a separate tweet that such an agreement would include “counter-terrorism assurances, troop withdrawal, intra-Afghan negotiations that lead to a political settlement; and a comprehensive & permanent ceasefire.”

“This is a framework which the Taliban accept,” he added.

Khalilzad also reiterated that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”

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