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US, Taliban to finalize peace deal in eight days, Pakistani envoy says

AT News Report

KABUL: The United States and Taliban are expected to finalize their peace deal within eight days, Pakistani Ambassador to Kabul, Zahid Nasrullah Khan says, if true, a big victory for the two sides, while the government of Afghanistan still remains in sidelines.

The eighth round of negotiations between the US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban negotiators got a break on Monday when Khalilzad announced an “urgent” visit to New Delhi for talks with Indian officials. The negotiations are said to be resumed this week in the Qatari capital city of Doha.

Khan said Tuesday in an interview with the Voice of America that his country had persuaded Taliban for “honestly and effective” negotiations, admitting that Islamabad had influenced on the insurgent group.

Taliban’s leadership are alleged to be in Pakistan, with the neighboring state being accused of supporting and sheltering the militants against Afghan government. Pakistan had previously denied any relations with the insurgents.

“Yes, we have limited influence (over Taliban). Two million Afghan migrants are living in Pakistan, thus we have influence on Taliban,” said Khan.

The US diplomat Khalilzad, according to Khan, has assured Islamabad of a “good peace agreement” that would be able to ensure peace and pave the ground for intra-Afghan dialogues.

Meanwhile, Suhail Shaheen, spokesman for Taliban’s political office in Qatar, said that there was 70 per cent to 80 per cent progress in the latest round of negotiations with the US.

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