Taliban Training Camp

Taliban Says 'Differences Resolved' On US Troop Withdrawal

The US and the Taliban have "resolved differences" and could be close to a peace deal in Afghanistan.

Taliban Training Camp

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

The United States and the Taliban have resolved differences in talks over the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, an official for the group said.

The insurgent group have guaranteed they will cut ties with other extremist organisations.

Technical teams have been conducting discussions in Doha, Qatar, since Saturday. This has been described by officials as the "most crucial" phase of negotiations.

The US Special Envoy has indicated that Washington and the Taliban are close to a deal to end the conflict in Afghanistan.

Zalmay Khalilzad said excellent progress had been made in talks in Doha.

His sentiment has been echoed by NATO's Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg.

He said: "We are closer to a negotiated solution in Afghanistan now than we have been for many, many years."

"To train Afghans to stabilise their own country is the best way to avoid us being forced back into combat operation in Afghanistan," Mr Stoltenberg added during a press conference in New Zealand.

Watch: "We now see a real chance for peace in Afghanistan," said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at a news conference in New Zealand

A peace agreement could be expected at the end of the present round of talks, potentially before 13 August, according to senior officials.

The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation tweeted ahead of his journey to Doha that the peace agreement would not be a withdrawal agreement.

NATO led the UN-mandated International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan from August 2003 to December 2014.

The mission was to enable the Afghan authorities and build the capacity of the Afghan national security forces to provide effective security, so as to ensure that Afghanistan would never again be a safe haven for terrorists.

Currently, the US-led NATO mission to Afghanistan counts around 17,000 troops from 39 allies and partner countries.