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The Taliban in a statement has refused that they had reached to an18 -month agreement of withdrawal timeline with the US. In his twitter account, Mr. Zabihullah Mujahid the spokesperson of the group has written that: “Some media outlets reporting that an 18-month time frame for the complete withdrawal of forces has been agreed upon between the IEA & US delegations. These reports are untrue, 18-months has never been proposed. Earlier a news was circulated that the group was agreed to the mentioned time frame.
According some sources, the hard-line Islamic group gave assurances that Afghanistan will not be allowed to be used by al-Qaeda and Islamic State militants to attack the United States and its allies — a key early demand of Washington.
They said the deal included a ceasefire provision but they had yet to confirm a timeline and would only open talks with Afghan representatives once a truce was implemented.
Up until now, the Taliban has repeatedly rejected the Afghan government’s offer of holding talks, preferring instead to talk directly to the U.S. side, which it regards as its main enemy.
“In 18 months, if the foreign forces are withdrawn and ceasefire is implemented, then other aspects of the peace process can be put into action,” a Taliban source said, quoting from a portion of the draft.
More talks on the draft are expected in February, again in the Qatari capital Doha, the Taliban sources said.
They expect their side to be led by new political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the movement’s co-founder and a former military commander who was released from prison in Pakistan last year.
While they said his appointment had boosted momentum for a deal, it was unclear if he had joined the talks.
News of progress on a deal comes as the Taliban continues to stage near-daily attacks against the Western-backed Afghan government and its security forces.
Despite the presence of U.S.-led foreign forces training, advising and assisting their Afghan counterparts 17 years after the U.S.-led an invasion to drive them from power, the Taliban controls nearly half of Afghanistan.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said last week that 45,000 members of the country’s security forces had been killed since he took office in 2014.
The United States has some 14,000 troops in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led mission, known as Resolute Support, as well as a US counterterrorism mission directed at groups such as Daesh and al-Qaeda.
Despite reports last month that the United States was considering pulling out almost half of its forces, a White House spokesman said US President Donald Trump had not issued orders to withdraw the troops. However, the administration has not denied the reports, which have prompted fears of a fresh refugee crisis.
The Taliban sources said other clauses in the draft include an agreement over the exchange and release of prisoners, the removal of an international travel ban on several Taliban leaders by Washington and the prospect of an interim Afghan government after the ceasefire is struck.
The suggestion to appoint an interim government in Afghanistan comes as top politicians including Ghani have filed their nominations for the presidential polls in July. Ghani has repeatedly rejected the offer to agree to the formation of an interim government.