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Taliban spokesman: Intra-Afghan talks to be held 10 days after US deal

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KABUL: Taliban Spokesman, Sohail Shahin says that the insurgent group would hold talks with the government of Afghanistan and some Afghan political leaders some 10 after they reach a final deal with the United States.

Shahin who is spokesman for the group’s political office in Qatar, where the US envoy for Afghanistan peace Zalmay Khalilzad is holding negotiations with the militants, said Monday that once the deal was done, they would stop attacking the US troops.

Khalilzad restarted negotiations with Taliban at the weekend after a nearly three months pause as the US president declared the talks dead following a suicide attack in Kabul that killed 12 persons including an American soldier. Taliban had claimed the attack’s responsibility.

But he said that a general truce would be observed after the intra-Afghan dialogues. According to Shahin, the militants would not attack on American soldiers and would provide them with a safe passage for withdrawal.

Taliban are said to observe ceasefire after a final settlement with the US, but would hold general armistice in the wake of intra-Afghan talks.

Meanwhile, sources close to Taliban, said that neither them nor the US troops would attack each other after the deal, but according to them, the ceasefire would not include Afghan forces and government.

Shahin said that deal with the US was finalized and they would provide safe passage for the American troops to withdraw just after the deal was signed. He added that the group, the US and Qatar have one copy of the final deal each. But he didn’t say about the exact day and place of the deal.

The state ministry for peace calls for a ceasefire and direct talks between the government and Taliban.

Separately, the US officials also seem optimistic to the peace deal with Taliban.

“We have been there (in Afghanistan) for 18 or 19 years. Political settlement is the only way for development. This is a good thing that we gain a political agreement with the Taliban,” said the US Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper.

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