The US and the Taliban are 'pretty close' to signing a deal to end the war in Afghanistan, said US President Donald Trump.
“We’re pretty close,” Bloomberg reported quoting the president. “We’ve got two days now under our belt without violence” or with minimal violence, the president said.
According to him, the US hopes to reduce its military contingent in Afghanistan to 8.6 thousand people. US and Taliban leaders intend to sign a peace deal on February 29, provided that the one-week reduction in violence that began last Saturday remains valid. Trump abandoned the Camp David peace talks with the Taliban in September after an American soldier was killed in a suicide bombing.
The prospects for a long-term peace deal remain fragile. Afghanistan’s election commission declared President Ashraf Ghani the winner of the presidential election, despite months of trials and recounts that overshadowed the election. Ghani’s opponent, opposition leader Abdullah Abdullah, declared his victory, undermining the legitimacy of the government and possibly limiting its ability to negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban.
There are currently about 13,000 US troops in Afghanistan. While administration officials said they would be withdrawn only if the Taliban fulfill certain conditions.