Spectacular progress made, says Taliban on talks with United States

The ongoing seventh round of negotiations between Taliban representatives and US officials in Qatar has made “spectacular progress” on a draft agreement aimed at ending the 18-year-long conflict in Afghanistan, a spokesperson for the Taliban has said.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Suhail Shaheen, the Taliban’s political spokesman in Doha, said that “80-90 percent work on the peace agreement is finished”.

“Spectacular progress made in this round. The meeting will continue today as well,” he added, without giving further details.

The talks in Doha, which began on June 29, are aimed at finalising a draft agreement on the potential withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan.

The United States has said it will not agree to the withdrawal of troops until the Taliban put in place security guarantees, implement a ceasefire across the country and commit to an “intra-Afghan” dialogue with the Kabul government.

But the Taliban insists that the precondition of any agreement is the timeline for the withdrawal of the troops.

The group also refuses to talk to the Afghan government, calling them a “puppet” of the West.

There are about 17,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, including a contingent of some 14,000 US soldiers, as part of a Washington-led NATO mission to train, assist and advise Afghan forces.

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