US, Taliban Agree In Principle To Peace 'Framework,' Envoy Says

No agreement with Taliban on withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan: Khalilzad

A senior American official said negotiations are still ongoing, according to the Times, and the drafted framework is only the first step toward a peace deal.

Abdul Hakim Mujahid, a former Taliban official and now a member of the High Peace Council, an independent body of clerics and respected Afghan figures, said he believed the Qatar talks resulted in a "good understanding between both sides" but that more discussions are needed in the coming weeks or months.

The militants have said they will only begin talks with the government once a firm date for the withdrawal of USA troops has been agreed.

The Taliban has been staging near-daily attacks targeting Afghan forces, causing scores of casualties every week. The US invaded Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001 attacks to topple the Taliban, who were harboring Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda.

American and Taliban officials have agreed to the framework of a peace deal that could lead to an imminent pullout of USA troops from Afghanistan, according to a report.

The statement from Ghani's office also claimed that the Taliban demanded from Khalilzad the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Afghanistan, but that there was also no agreement on that issue.

US special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad told the New York Times on Monday a draft framework had been completed but details still needed to be worked out.

"Our commitment is to provide peace and prevent any possible disaster", Ghani, who met with the U.S. envoy late Sunday in Kabul, said in an address to the nation.

He said the deal could lead to a full pullout of United States troops in return for a cease-fire and Taliban talks with the Afghan government.

Ghani's government has been excluded from the talks until now because the insurgents view it as an American puppet.

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The Afghan president on Monday reassured his people that their rights will not be compromised in the name of peace with the Taliban, days after the USA envoy tasked with resolving America's longest war reported significant progress in talks with the insurgents.

Some of the more hard points yet to negotiate are the prospect of a ceasefire and a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops.

"Our commitment is to provide peace and to prevent any possible disaster", Ghani said in an address to the nation. No Afghan wants foreign troops to remain in their country indefinitely.

US President Donald Trump's clear eagerness to end America's longest war has also weighed heavy on the discussions, and Ghani warned against rushing into a deal, citing violence in the aftermath of the Soviet withdrawal in 1989.

He reassured the Afghans the talks in Qatar remain geared towards bringing the insurgents to the table with Kabul, according to a statement released by Ghani's office.

"My role is to facilitate" such talks between the insurgents and Kabul, Khalilzad was quoted as saying. Trump has said he wants to pull out half the remaining 14,000 American troops, according to United States officials. The big breakthrough, apparently, is that the Taliban have agreed to prevent terrorists from taking over territory in the country in the event of a full U.S. withdrawal.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation combat troops left Afghanistan in 2014, but thousands remain in training, support and counter-terrorism roles.

On Friday, Mr Ghani said more than 45,000 members of the country's security forces had been killed since he became leader in 2014.

Though reports last week suggested the United States would agree to full troop withdrawal, US officials told the Times no concrete details had been determined in this area.

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