The 6 days of negotiations between the US and Taliban have ended with different wording but in the end, articulating the same end game. US and Taliban officials have agreed so far to a draft (not final) deal that would lead to the withdraw of US forces from Afghanistan within 18 months after the deal is signed.
Zalmay Khalilzad the US Peace Envoy tweeted out celebrating the state of peace negotiations saying
“Meetings here (in Qatar) were more productive than they have been in the past. We have made significant progress on vital issues,” he wrote, adding that numerous issues still needed work.
“Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed and everything must include an intra-Afghan dialogue and comprehensive ceasefire,” It is basically diplomatic talk for we have more to add to an agreement but we are close.
2/3. Will build on the momentum and resume talks shortly. We have a number of issues left to work out. Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, and “everything” must include an intra-Afghan dialogue and comprehensive ceasefire.
— U.S. Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad (@US4AfghanPeace) January 26, 2019
In the draft deal by the Taliban it says that a ceasefire has been agreed to ahead of the transition of pulling US troops out, that has yet to be agreed by the US side as they want the Afghan government to agree to it also, something that likely will happen according to reports in the Pakistani media, and agreeing to the ceasefire makes perfect sense for President Ashraf Ghani in his campaign for reelection, as peace is the number one issue in the war-torn country.
A cease fire is expected today after the peace talks end between Khalilzad & the Taliban’s in Qatar today “the announcement’s will come IF both side provide solid guarantees, which they have already committed too” : Official from Qatar.
— Iftikhar Firdous (@IftikharFirdous) January 25, 2019
The Taliban again reaffirmed their commitment to not allow for other terrorist groups to be able to use Afghanistan as a place to attack the US or any other country, and in the deal, they would also ban Balochi separatists from using Afghanistan as a place to launch attacks in Pakistan who has long fought Balochi separatism, in a neglected but resource-rich Balochistan.
The pull out of the US Troops will be announced at the State of the Union Address by the US President Donald Trump. The agreed terms between the Taliban and Khalilzad for the pullout is around a year and a half but keeping in mind other variables in Afghanistan. https://t.co/fgTAxLeuI7
— Iftikhar Firdous (@IftikharFirdous) January 26, 2019
Qatari officials have told Pakistani media that the announcement of the withdrawal will be made at the State of the Union, and that more talks will occur in February in Qatar.
With the Taliban’s appointed of Mullah Baradar one of the founders of the group, as the main negotiator in the peace talks momentum has grown on the prospects of a deal. Taliban officials think US wanted to really wanted to be sure they were talking to powerful figures with influence in the Taliban and that would make sense, as you want to quell the violence as much as possible in a peace deal.
Other details in the agreement include a prisoner exchange, lifting a travel ban on many Taliban leaders, and formation of a caretaker interim government. President Ashraf Ghani has rejected such an offer multiple times.
This isn’t over yet, a final deal has yet to be finalized but the momentum is nearing the point of being unstoppable.