Taliban spokesperson claims significant progress in talks with US

Posted Jul 28, 2019 by Ken Hanly
Mohammed Shaheen a Taliban spokesperson said that the Taliban and the US are getting close to an Afghanistan peace deal and an agreement could be concluded if the US makes a reasonable and convincing proposal.
Nine US service members have been killed in Afghanistan so far this year  compared to 12 killed in a...
Nine US service members have been killed in Afghanistan so far this year, compared to 12 killed in all of 2018
Progress made in talks in Doha, Qatar
Both sides agree that there has been significant progress in recent talks. The upbeat statement from the Taliban comes a day after a joint US-Afghan statement agreeing to speed up the peace effort. There is a broad outline of an agreement that would see the US withdrawing troops while the Taliban agrees to ensure that ISIS and Al Qaeda are kept out of the country. A power-sharing agreement between the Afghan government and the Taliban will be a top priority. So far the Taliban has refused to negotiate directly with the Afghan government which it sees as a puppet of the US.
Many hope that an agreement can be reached before the Afghan election scheduled in September. As the peace talks appear to be making considerable progress perhaps this can be achieved.
Talks between Taliban and the US to resume soon
A recent article notes: "The fundamentalist Islamic movement and the U.S. are due to resume negotiations soon in the Qatari capital after adjourning their seventh round of meetings earlier this month. U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani agreed Wednesday in a phone call that 'now is the time to accelerate efforts to reach a negotiated end to the war,' according to a State Department statement."
Pompeo claims US policy on Afghanistan is unchanged
Afghan officials were very concerned about US President Trump's remarks which among other things said he could wipe Afghanistan off the face of the earth. In a phone call, Secretary of State Pompeo assured Afghan President Ghani that there was no change to Trump's policy.
So far the Afghan government has had only limited involvement in the peace deal. There have been talks with Afghan citizens and the Taliban, but none of the Afghans were there as officially representing the government.