The US Special Representative for Afghanistan’s Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, who has arrived in Doha for another round of talks with the Taliban, said on Saturday that the United States is ready for “a good agreement” with the Taliban.
Khalilzad said in a tweet that the “Taliban are signaling they would like to conclude an agreement” but he reiterated that the US is pursuing a peace agreement, not a withdrawal agreement. A peace agreement that enables withdrawal, he added.
The Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid in a tweet said that the talks with the US in Doha will begin on Saturday morning.
This comes as according to reports, the Trump administration is planning to withdraw thousands of troops from Afghanistan in a new deal negotiated with the Taliban Thursday.
The Washington Post reported that the number of US troops in Afghanistan would be reduced to between 8,000 and 9,000 from the current 14,000, citing US officials.
The reports said that in exchange, the Taliban would reportedly have to begin negotiating a peace deal with the Afghan government; the deal would also involve a cease-fire and a Taliban renunciation of al Qaeda.
But Khalilzad said in his tweet that the US presence in Afghanistan is conditions-based, and any withdrawal will be conditions-based.