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Iran Press TV

Taliban say close to deal with US in Doha talks

Iran Press TV

Wed Aug 28, 2019 05:37PM

The United States and the Taliban are "close" to reaching an agreement that would allow Washington to end its longest war and shrink the number of its troops in Afghanistan, says a Taliban spokesman.

In a posting on Twitter on Wednesday, Zabihullah Mujahid said, "Negotiations will continue today. We are close to an agreement. We hope to bring good news for our Muslim and freedom seeking nation soon."

Taliban's political spokesman in Doha, Suhail Shaheen, had earlier told reporters that a deal could be expected "as soon as the remaining points are finalized."

A senior US official said American negotiator Zalmay Khalilza will "inform the top Afghan leaders about the peace deal and then finalize a declaration to end the war in Afghanistan."

The Taliban, which now control or have influence in about half of Afghanistan's territory, have held several rounds of direct talks with US officials in the Qatari capital since October.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, whose administration has been left out of the talks, recently said only Afghans had to decide their fate not outside powers even if they were allies. The president said peace was only possible with an agreement between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

In a separate development on Wednesday, Amnesty International called on the US and the Taliban to consider human rights in any deal.

"Any peace agreement must not ignore (Afghans') voices, the voices of the victims, they must not ignore their calls for justice and accountability for war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious human rights violations", said Omar Waraich, Amnesty's deputy South Asia director.

While the Taliban are notorious for numerous human rights abuses, violations on massive scale have also been perpetrated by the US and pro-government forces.

The negotiations take place almost 18 years after the US invaded Afghanistan to overthrow a ruling Taliban regime.

The exit of foreign troops from Afghanistan has been a condition set by the Taliban to extend the talks.

The deal is expected to see the Taliban make various security guarantees in return for a sharp reduction in the number of American troops based in Afghanistan, which is about 13,000.

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