Afghanistan talks 'proceeding well' | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 31, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 31, 2019

Afghanistan talks 'proceeding well'

Says Trump after US, Taliban agree to peace framework

Negotiations in Afghanistan are going well, US President Donald Trump said yesterday, after US officials earlier this week said there had been significant progress in talks to end 17 years of war in the country.

Talks "are proceeding well," Trump wrote on Twitter. He did not address any possible peace accord with the Taliban or the presence of US troops in Afghanistan.

On Monday, US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad told the New York Times that the United States and the insurgent group had sketched the outlines of an eventual peace deal. Analysts, however, said there was no sign that the Taliban had agreed to US demands.

A US State Department spokesman said this week the talks had been "positive" but that no agreement had been reached.

The Trump administration has moved toward withdrawals of US forces after years of overseas deployments. A US official said last month that Trump planned to withdraw more than 5,000 of the 14,000 US troops in Afghanistan.

But the Republican leader of the US Senate offered legislation on Tuesday urging the US to keep troops in Syria and Afghanistan.

Saying that Islamic militant groups in the two countries continue to pose a "serious threat" to the United States, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he had introduced an amendment to a broader Middle East Security bill urging a "continued commitment" until al Qaeda, Islamic State and other groups are defeated.

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