A breakthrough occurred in negotiations in the Qatari capital Doha between the US and the Taliban. An agreement was reached in principle on the timing of the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghan territory. A representative of the Taliban, SuheilShaheen, said this in a telephone interview with Pakistani media.
“We agreed on a time frame for the withdrawal of troops. Negotiations are underway on how to implement it,” said Shaheen. At the same time, what time frames are involved, he did not report.
This is the eighth round of talks between the Taliban and the United States. During the seventh, held in June-July, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo expressed the hope that a peace agreement would be concluded before September 1. The draft text of the agreement, which outlines, including the Taliban’s obligations, is almost ready, he said. However, the negotiators in the comments of the press carefully avoided any specifics.
Currently, 16 thousand NATO troops are in Afghanistan, of which 14 thousand are Americans. President Donald Trump promised to reduce this contingent during his 2016 election campaign. Last year, CNN reported that the US president ordered a plan to withdraw 7,000 troops from Afghanistan. Trump confirmed that the withdrawal of US soldiers is possible, but only if an agreement is reached with the Taliban.
The news of the proposed reduction in the military contingent was welcomed in the United States. Senators Rand Paul and Tom Udall in the spring even drafted the AFGHAN bill – American Forces Going Home After Noble, which provides for the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan within a year and payment of each annual withdrawal to the soldier.
The US-Afghan campaign was the longest in the country’s history. Losses suffered by the Americans amounted to about 2.3 thousand people killed. According to the Pentagon and NATO, 14 US troops have died in Afghanistan since the beginning of the year. The last battle loss was dated August 21. Then two American servicemen were killed. Taliban attacks on Afghan government forces occur much more often than on NATO forces and are accompanied by a significantly larger number of victims.