U.S. envoy says peace deal is near as Taliban attack another Afghan city


The Trump administration is nearing an agreement with the Taliban that would end America’s longest war, the U.S. envoy said Saturday.

But as Zalmay Khalilzad flew into Kabul to brief the Afghan government on a peace deal, the insurgent group launched an attack on a second Afghan city in as many days.

The assault on the capital of Baghlan province Sunday came hours after Khalilzad said he warned the Taliban during talks in Qatar that “violence like this must stop.”

But he appeared determined to move forward on a deal that plans the withdrawal of U.S. troops in exchange for Taliban guarantees that Afghanistan will not be used as a launch pad for global attacks.

“We are at the threshold of an agreement that will reduce violence and open the door for Afghans to sit together to negotiate an honorable and sustainable peace and a unified, sovereign Afghanistan that does not threaten the United States, its allies, or any other country,” he said in a Twitter post.

After completing the latest round of talks in Doha, Khalilzad traveled to Kabul to consult with a “wide range of Afghans, including the government leadership,” a state department spokesperson said.

“Despite speculation, we do not yet have an announcement to make,” the spokesperson added.

“However, we can tell you that any potential peace deal will not be based on blind trust, but will instead contain clear commitments that are subject to our monitoring and verification. Any potential deal would bring together all sides for negotiation, enable the withdrawal of American forces, and ensure the security of the American homeland.”

Associated Press contributed.

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