Pursuing peace agreement not withdrawal agreement with Afghan Taliban: Zalmay

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US pushes Taliban to reduce violence as deal enters'next phase'

DOHA: US Special Representative for Afghanistan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad has said the United States is pursuing a peace agreement with the Taliban as a fresh round of US-Taliban peace talks kicks off in Doha later today.
Khalilzad, who has held a series of meetings with Taliban leaders since last year, reached Doha on Friday night.
“Just got to Doha to resume talks with the Taliban. We are pursuing a peace agreement not a withdrawal agreement,” Khalilzad wrote on Twitter.
“A peace agreement that enables withdrawal. Our presence in Afghanistan is conditions-based, and any withdrawal will be conditions-based,” he said, adding the Taliban are signaling they would conclude an agreement.
“We are ready for a good agreement.”
About 20,000 foreign troops, most of them American, are now in Afghanistan as part of a US-led NATO mission to train, assist and advise Afghan forces.
Earlier on Thursday, Khalilzad arrived in Islamabad as part of a tour of the region following the seventh round of direct talks with the Taliban in Doha.
During his visit, Khalilzad met Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and discussed the progress on the Afghan peace process.
In the meeting, the prime minister expressed satisfaction over the international consensus on efforts made for stability and peace in Afghanistan.
The prime minister said that Pakistan will continue its role to facilitate the peace process and maintain contact with the US and other stakeholders.
PM Imran said that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan is in favour of the region and Pakistan as well.

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