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Top US Envoy Says Peace Deal With Taliban Agreed

He says troop pullout deal still needs Trump's approval
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2019 12:03 AM CDT
Smoke rises as angry Kabul residents set fire to part of the Green Village compound a day after a Taliban suicide attack in Kabul, Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019.   (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
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(Newser) – After almost 18 years of war, a peace deal between the US and the Taliban has been agreed to "in principle," according to Zalmay Khalilzad, the chief American negotiator. Khalilzad said Monday that as part of the deal, some 5,400 American troops out of around 14,000 currently in Afghanistan would be withdrawn from the country over the next 20 weeks, the BBC reports. He said the deal would involve pulling American troops from five bases if there were a reduction in violence in those areas, reports CNN. The deal would also require the Taliban to ensure that the country will not be used as a base for militants to launch attacks on the US. He said the US wants to see a new government formed after intra-Afghan peace talks.

Khalilzad said the deal still requires the approval of President Trump, and he can't call it a ceasefire, "because it has been agreed that the word ceasefire belongs to the intra-Afghan peace talks." As an interview with Khalilzad was aired on TV in Afghanistan, a massive blast hit Kabul, killing at least 16 people and injuring more than 100. Authorities said five attackers were shot dead after a suicide bomber driving a tractor packed with explosives targeted a residential compound housing foreigners, the AP reports. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. Some 400 foreigners were escorted from the area. Angry residents later climbed the wall of the "Green Village" international compound and set part of it on fire, demanding that foreigners leave the district permanently. (Read more Afghanistan stories.)

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