Taliban, US may agree on up to 9-month troop withdrawal process:Source

Kabul: The United States and the Taliban movement might reach an agreement setting a time frame of eight or nine months for the US forces’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, a Taliban source told Sputnik on Friday, as the US-Taliban talks in Qatar entered their seventh day.

“The Taliban and the US delegation may reach a 8-9 month timeline agreement for the complete withdrawal [of the US troops from Afghanistan],” the source said.

According to the source, such a time frame constitutes a compromise between the two-year process advocated by the United States and the half-a-year one proposed by the Taliban.

The duration of the troop withdrawal has been one of the main stumbling blocks in talks, with the Taliban insisting on the earliest troop withdrawal and Washington attempting to delay the process as long as it can, the source added.

“The United States is not looking for a rapid withdrawal,” Akbar Agha, a former Taliban official, told Sputnik, adding that “the issue [of the US troop withdrawal] may remain unsolved.”

The United States and the Taliban have been negotiating an agreement for US troop withdrawal and the Taliban’s guarantees that Afghan soil would not be used to harbor members of the al-Qaeda terror group (banned in Russia).

Afghanistan has long been suffering from an unstable security situation. The government has been fighting the Taliban movement, which has been waging a war against Kabul for almost two decades, and the Islamic State terrorist group (banned in Russia), which has been operating in Afghanistan since 2015.

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