Islamabad: The talks between US and the Afghan Taliban in Qatar were quite successful and “more good news” is expected in the next few days, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Sunday amid reports that the two sides had finalised a draft deal to end the 17-year-old Afghan war.
“Expect more good news in the next few days,” Qureshi told the media in Multan’s Ameerabad on Sunday. “We want a solution to the problems in Afghanistan. We want to resume trade.”
Qureshi said the US-Taliban talks were a “major diplomatic victory”.
“Pakistan played a vital role in bringing the US and the Taliban to the negotiation table,” he said.
According to Pakistan Today, the draft agreement includes apparent concessions from both sides, with foreign forces to be withdrawn from the country in 18 months from the time of signing of the deal.
Taliban has also offered assurances that Afghanistan will not be allowed to be used by al Qaeda and Islamic State militants to attack the United States and its allies – a key early demand of Washington.
US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad reportedly said the talks should be aimed at reforms and not for a demand by the Taliban to control Afghanistan. He is to head to the Afghan capital to brief President Ashraf Ghani on the six-day talks. The talks were originally scheduled for only two days.
On Saturday evening, Khalilzad hailed “significant progress” in finding a solution to end Afghanistan’s long-running war.
“Meetings here were more productive than they have been in the past. We made significant progress on vital issues,” he tweeted. The envoy, however, added that both sides 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”.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday Tweeted that he had received “encouraging news” from Khalilzad about the talks.
“The US is serious about pursuing peace, preventing #Afghanistan from continuing to be a space for international terrorism & bringing forces home,” Pompeo tweeted. He did not give a timetable for the potential withdrawal of US forces.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that while there was “progress” at the meetings, reports of an agreement on a ceasefire and talks with Kabul “are not true”, Tolo News said.
“Since issues are of critical nature and need comprehensive discussions, therefore it was decided that talks about unresolved matters will resume in similar future meetings,” Mujahid said.