'US to conditionally pull troops from five Afghan bases under deal'

US president last week said America would maintain a permanent presence in Afghanistan

Afp September 02, 2019
US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad. PHOTO: REUTERS

TEHRAN: The US military will pull its troops from five bases in Afghanistan if the Taliban honour their end of a proposed deal, the US envoy leading negotiations between the two foes said on Monday.

"We have agreed that if the conditions proceed according to the agreement, we will leave within 135 days five bases in which we are present now," Zalmay Khalilzad told Tolo News, according to an excerpt of an interview the TV station published on Twitter.

US special envoy shares peace deal draft with Afghan president

He was in Kabul following the latest round of talks with the Taliban in Doha, after which he said the two sides were at the "threshold" of a deal.

He met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and showed him the draft of a proposed agreement.

The prospective deal centres on US troop reductions in return for several security guarantees from the Taliban, as well as broader peace talks between the insurgents and the Afghan government and an eventual ceasefire.

Still, even if many of 13,000 or so US troops in Afghanistan leave soon after the deal, President Donald Trump last week said America would maintain a permanent presence -- with 8,600 troops initially -- even after a deal is reached with the Taliban.

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