Taliban in Afghanistan
Afghanistan

Taliban Says Historic Peace Agreement With US Is Close

If an accord can be reached in US-Taliban talks, it would set the stage for all-Afghan negotiations.

Taliban in Afghanistan

An archive picture of Taliban forces in Afghanistan (Picture: PA).

The Taliban says it is close to concluding a historic peace agreement with the United States, that would bring almost 18 years of conflict to an end.

Negotiations between the Taliban and an Afghan delegation would then follow.

The latest round of talks between US representatives and the Taliban took place in Qatar at the weekend, with both sides since saying that progress has been made.

Suhail Shaheen, a Taliban spokesman, told the BBC that all the major issues have been resolved and technical teams are working on the final details: "I think it is very close and we hope in the coming days we finish."

If an accord can be reached, it would bring Afghanistan a step closer to ending its decades-long conflict and allow the US to start withdrawing its forces from what is now America's longest war.

Kabul
Britain has around 1,000 non-combat personnel in Afghanistan, some of those in Kabul (Picture: Crown Copyright).

For a complete pullout of the US's 14,000 troops to take place, the Taliban needs to negotiate a framework for peace with an Afghan delegation.

However, the Afghanistan ambassador to the US has said recent Taliban attacks are undermining the credibility of negotiations.

Ambassador Roya Rahmani said the near-daily attacks across the country will cause greater distrust of talks that US and Taliban officials have said are close to producing an agreement:

"It's simply not understandable why somebody with the idea of peace in mind would like to continue killing people."

The most recent Taliban attack targeting Afghan security forces blasted a busy neighbourhood during morning rush hour, killing at least 14 people and wounding 145 - most of them women, children and other civilians.

The bombing was one of the worst in the Afghan capital this year.