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article imageAfghan peace deal expected to be signed some time next week

By Ken Hanly     Aug 10, 2019 in World
Doha - Peace talks between the US and the Taliban are paused for the Eid al-Adha holiday that ends on August 13, next Tuesday. When discussions begin after that the expectation is that a deal will be finalized.
Agreement could be signed next week
Although hopes for a finalized deal have existed for some time, at least now both sides say they believe that a peace agreement will be reached and signed some time during next week. This will allow intra-Afghan talks between the Taliban and other Afghans including government officials in a personal capacity on the important issue of power sharing. Up to now the Afghan government has been on the sidelines while the Taliban negotiated directly with the US. The Taliban refuse to negotiate directly with the Afghan government as they consider it a puppet of the US.
A recent article reports: "A senior member of the Taliban, Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwah, says the US and the Taliban negotiators will likely sign the much-awaited peace agreement after Eid al-Adha -- at the end of this week. In a recorded video published on Youtube, the Taliban member says the talks between the US and the group will continue after Eid al-Adha which ends on August 13. He said that the peace deal between the US and the Taliban will be signed in the presence of representatives of the UN the Islamic Organization and regional countries after the return of the US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad to Doha after Eid (August 14). "
The nature of the deal
The agreement will involve removing all foreign troops from Afghanistan a key demand of the Taliban. In return the Taliban are to ensure that ISIS and Al Qaeda are kept out of Afghanistan so that they are unable to use it as a base to attack others. The power-sharing talks will take place once the Taliban-US agreement is in place.
The upcoming Afghan presidential election
The presidential election is scheduled for near the end of September. The election has been delayed before due to peace talks. With a deal imminent it is likely to be delayed again. Many candidates are not even bothering to campaign.
A recent article notes: "Few candidates — 18 are running for the country’s top job — have openly campaigned after the Taliban last week attacked the office of President Ashraf Ghani’s running mate on opening day of the campaign, killing at least 20 people. Amrullah Saleh, known for his fierce anti-Taliban stance, was unharmed.This week, the Taliban declared the election a “sham” and warned fellow Afghans to stay away from campaign rallies and from the polls, saying such gatherings could be targeted. "
The appended video on the Doha talks predates the latest Taliban announcement.
More about Taliban US relations, Afghan war, Afghan peace agreement
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