The wording is couched to be sure, but the New York Times reports that a deal is in the works to end America's nearly 20-year war in Afghanistan. Here is how the chief US negotiator in talks between the US and the Taliban puts it to the newspaper: "We have a draft of the framework that has to be fleshed out before it becomes an agreement,” says envoy Zalmay Khalilzad. The big breakthrough, apparently, is that the Taliban have agreed to prevent terrorists from taking over territory in the country in the event of a full US withdrawal. The insurgents also agreed to enter talks with the Afghan government and to a cease-fire, though another US official says the Taliban negotiators asked for time to clear that with their leaders.
"We felt enough confidence that we said we need to get this fleshed out, and details need to be worked out," says Khalilzad. As news of the apparent deal surfaced, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani made public comments to assure Afghan citizens that their safety would not be jeopardized, reports the AP. "Our commitment is to provide peace and to prevent any possible disaster," said Ghani. "There are values that are not disputable, such as national unity, national sovereignty, and territorial integrity." Reports of the deal come at the end of six days of talks between US and Taliban negotiators. An anonymous US official tells Reuters that "of course we don't seek a permanent military presence, (but) we would like to leave a good legacy." (Read more Afghanistan war stories.)