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Foreign troops to quit Afghanistan in 18 months under draft deal: Taliban sources
More than 17 years after the U. Herat area, members of the Taliban belonging to the Mullah Niazi group in the territory they control, inside the Mullahs stronghold. Mullah Niazi sits on top of his mountain and waits -- waits for news from his commanders, waits for his fighters and waits for victory. He's been living up here in his mountaintop fortress -- where the shacks are as brown as the mountain and where no motorcycle, car or tank can travel -- for two-and-a-half years. He is waiting for God's rule to once again take hold on the streets of Afghanistan's, just like when he was a spokesman for Taliban founder, Mullah Omar. His patience seems to be paying off. Slowly, Niazi's fighters, who are taking us to him, ascend the final slope. The air is still damp and cold from the night before, and it smells like the scree that is dislodged by our every step. The only sound is the fighters' heavy breathing and the metallic clink of ammunition belts against their machine guns. Apart from our group, silence envelops these mountains southeast of Herat, a range known locally as Haft-Darband.
The details of the draft were given to Reuters by Taliban sources at the end of six days of talks with U. He did not give a timetable for the potential withdrawal of U. A Taliban statement issued later also noted progress on troop withdrawal and other issues but said more negotiations and internal consultations were required.
Afghanistan will send a government delegation for talks with the Taliban in Qatar, in a potential breakthrough in efforts to end the nearly year war, even as the militants said participants will attend the meeting only in a "personal capacity. Meanwhile, EU foreign ministers on April 8 said the bloc is ready to act as a guarantor for the Afghan peace process. Zalmay Khalilzad, the U. Omar Daudzai, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's peace envoy, said on April 7 that a government delegation would go to Doha to "exchange views with the Taliban. Daudzai said the government would finalize the componence of the delegation by April 10, with the talks scheduled for April The Taliban said in a April 7 statement that those attending the Doha talks will not be representing the government and will only "participate in a personal capacity.
Why a Taliban peace deal won't end bloodshed in Afghanistan
The presidential campaign began in Afghanistan, overshadowed — and perhaps threatened by — a possible peace deal with the militants. At least 55 pro-government forces and 54 civilians were killed in Afghanistan during the past week. The president gushed about the prospect of improved relations and trade with Pakistan if it helps negotiate a cease-fire to bring home American troops from Afghanistan.