Taliban Training Camp

Taliban Closer To Agreeing Afghanistan Peace Deal With US

If an agreement is reached, it could end the 18-year war in Afghanistan.

Taliban Training Camp

An archive picture of Taliban fighters (Picture: PA).

The Taliban have said they are moving closer to agreeing to a deal with US negotiators to end the war in Afghanistan. 

Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen commented on the situation on Tuesday, during the fifth day of talks in Qatar. 

"We have progress in this round so we are finalising the remaining points," Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told journalists outside the up-market Doha members' club where the talks are taking place.

He said a deal could be expected "as soon as the remaining points are finalised".

Jarrett Blanc, who served as deputy special representative for Afghanistan and was responsible for US-Taliban negotiations, has said the talks need to succeed before the Taliban will agree to sit down with the Afghan government.

The United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 after the September 11 attacks.

Washington wants to withdraw thousands of US troops from Afghanistan, but only on the condition that the Taliban renounces its connections to al-Qaeda and pledges a ceasefire. 

The US chief negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad tweeted Monday that Washington would "defend Afghan forces now and after any agreement" with the group.

Washington is hoping to strike a deal by 1 September ahead of Afghan polls due the same month, and US presidential polls next year.

The four pillars of any Taliban-US deal are expected to be the withdrawal of foreign troops, a ceasefire, counter-terror guarantees and intra-Afghan dialogue.