US special envoy for Afghan peace says talks in Qatar resulted in significant progress

WASHINGTON, Jan 27: US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad has commended the results of the consultations on the Afghan peace between Washington and the Taliban militants, which were held in Qatar, where the movement has a political office.

Earlier in the day, the Reuters news agency reported, citing sources from the Taliban, that the sides at the Qatar talks agreed on a draft peace deal phasing out the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan in 18 months. However, the agreement is yet to be signed, while the dates of its implementation also remain unclear.

?After six days in Doha, I’m headed to #Afghanistan for consultations. Meetings here were more productive than they have been in the past. We made significant progress on vital issues ? Will build on the momentum and resume talks shortly. We have a number of issues left to work out. Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, and ?everything? must include an intra-Afghan dialogue and comprehensive ceasefire,? Khalilzad wrote on Twitter late on Saturday.

US State Secretary Mike Pompeo earlier on Sunday also said that Washington was willing to promote peace in Afghanistan and withdraw its troops from the country.

Ihsan Taheri, the spokesman of the Afghan High Peace Council (HPC) told Sputnik on Friday that the agreements reached at negotiations between the United States and the Taliban in Qatar did not equate to a formal deal, but have increased the chances of direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

While most of the US troops left Afghanistan by the end of 2014, Washington continues to support the Afghan armed forces in combating terrorism.