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Taliban expect US peace deal

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KABUL: The Taliban are expecting the signing of a peace agreement with the US in the near future, a Russian media outlet has quoted a well-placed source of the insurgent group as saying, while a former Taliban official believed the landmark inking ceremony might take place this week.

In an interview with TASS Russian News Agency, the Taliban spokesman, Suhail Shaheen, expected that a date to sign a peace agreement with the United States will be fixed in the near future.

“A date to sign the agreement has not been fixed. We expect to fix it soon,” he said in response to a question.

This is while Russian Special Presidential Envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov said earlier in an interview with TASS that the US and the Taliban had agreed that Russia and several other countries would witness the signing of the agreement.

However, a former member of the Taliban, Sayed Akbar Agha, said the peace deal had been delayed as some countries refrained to partake in the signing ceremony of the peace deal.

He didn’t name any country which wouldn’t participate in the occasion but there are rumors they could probably be China and Russia – both of which have stable and strong ties with Iran.

“With the reduction of tensions between the US and the Taliban, there is a possibility that the deal may be signed in the ongoing week with the presence of countries from all over the world,” he believed.

Meanwhile, some sources privy to Taliban group had earlier said that US Special envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad was in Qatar where he held negotiations regarding the Afghan peace process with the deputy leader of the group and head of its Qatar-based political office, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

In order to resume the peace talks with the US negotiators, the sources said the Taliban representatives were awaiting their leadership’s final nod in agreement.

Washington has so far held several rounds of talks with the Taliban representatives in Doha to achieve a political solution for the longest US war in Afghanistan. But the Taliban have been insisting on a complete withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.

The revival of peace talks has been once again halted for nearly one month pending the Taliban’s approval of US demand regarding a reduction of violence and a short time ceasefire.  

Some American media outlets had earlier reported that the militants have agreed upon a one-week truce but a Taliban Spokesperson turned down the reports and said: “The truth of the matter is that the Taliban group has no ceasefire plan.”

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