The United States special envoy to Afghanistan has shown the Afghan president the draft of an agreement between the US and the Taliban after almost a year of negotiations with the group, Afghan officials said.
The president’s spokesman, told on Monday that the US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad shared “key details” of the US-Taliban draft agreement with President Ashraf Ghani, after an initial meeting the previous evening upon arriving from Qatar where the ninth round of US-Taliban talks concluded over the weekend.
The negotiations have focused on the withdrawal of thousands of US troops from Afghanistan in exchange for guarantees by the Taliban not to allow the country to be used as a base for attacks abroad.
Ahead of Monday’s press conference, the president’s adviser Waheed Omar confirmed Khalilzad’s meeting with President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.
The Afghan government has been shut out of the negotiations as the Taliban dismisses it as a “puppet” of the US, but intra-Afghan talks that include the government are meant to follow a US-Taliban deal.
Khalilzad over the weekend said the US and the Taliban are “at the threshold of an agreement” – even as fighting between the group and government forces in northern Afghanistan intensified.
The Taliban on Sunday attacked Pul-e Khumri, the capital of Baghlan province, just a day after hundreds of its fighters overran parts of Kunduz, a strategic city and the capital of the eponymous province that the group has twice come close to taking in recent years.
On Monday, Afghan local media reported attacks were ongoing in the provinces of Kunduz, Takhar, Badakhshan, Balkh, Farah and Herat.
The Kabul-Baghlan and Baghlan-Kunduz highways were also blocked.