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'US seeks lasting, honourable peace deal in Afghanistan'

12 August 2019

The two sides have reported good progress in talks and it is expected that the two sides will sign an agreement in coming days. "They were productive. I am on my way back to DC to consult on next steps", Khalilzad tweeted Monday.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the negotiations in the Qatari capital, Doha, ended early on August 12, adding: "It was long and useful".

"Peace is the desire of each Afghan and peace will come, there shouldn't be any doubt about it", he said.

"I hope this is the last Eid where #Afghanistan is at war".

Such an accord would be followed by intra-Afghan peace negotiations on a political settlement and a permanent cease-fire.

He said the USA is working hard toward a lasting and honorable peace agreement and a sovereign Afghanistan which poses no threat to any other country.

He also said a presidential election, scheduled for September 28, in which he hopes to win a second term, was essential.

The talks, held in Qatar since late previous year, have brought hopes for a deal allowing USA troops to leave in exchange for a Taliban promise that Afghanistan will not be used by militants as a base from which to plot attacks overseas.

The document, to be inked before worldwide witnesses, would also require the Taliban to immediately start negotiations with stakeholders in Afghanistan, including envoys of the USA -backed government in Kabul, to discuss a nationwide ceasefire and matters related to future governance in the crisis-hit country.

Ghani made no reference to the United States or to the expected U.S. -Taliban pact but said Afghans should decide their fate, not outside powers, even if they were allies. More than 2,400 US service members have died in Afghanistan since then.

FILE - Afghan presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani attends the first day of campaigning in Kabul, Afghanistan, July 28, 2019.

Some in Afghanistan saw it as a response to President Ashraf Ghani, who on Sunday declared that "Our future can not be decided outside, whether in the capital cities of our friends, nemeses or neighbors".

"Our future can not be decided outside, whether in the capital cities of our friends, nemeses or neighbors".

Speculation has reached fever pitch in Kabul in recent days that an announcement about a deal may be imminent, but tweets from the Taliban and Zalmay Khalilzad - the USA special envoy leading the talks - suggest work remains to be done.

'US seeks lasting, honourable peace deal in Afghanistan'