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Will US, Taliban sign peace accord on August 1?


Islamabad: The US and the Taliban are likely to announce a peace accord on August 1, paving the way for withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan, according to reports in the Pakistani media.

English daily, The News, said that talks between the US and the Taliban, slated to begin talks in Qatar's capital Doha from Monday, could see a concrete agreement on bringing "nearly 18 years of military intervention and bloodshed in Afghanistan to an end". 

It quoted "highly-placed" diplomatic sources as saying Mulla Abdul Ghani Brather will lead the Taliban, while the US Special Representative to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad will be heading the US team, and in "all probabilities, the historic accord would be inked in Doha, Qatar on Thursday (August 1)".

Both sides are fine-tuning the draft of agreement before its formal announcement and signing, it said, adding that the accord is intended to enhance the peace process to ensure a ceasefire and an undertaking by the Taliban "that their areas of influence would not be used by any terror group for activities in the country or beyond its frontiers".

Senior Pakistani diplomats will be present in Doha on the occasion of the signing, the News reported.

It also said that in the next two weeks, which "will be crucial regarding future of peace in Afghanistan", Taliban leader Mulla Haibatullah might travel to Pakistan, where he will meet Prime Minister Imran Khan and army chief, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, amid others, whereas President Ashraf Ghani's administration will have a maiden interaction with the Taliban leaders in Kabul.

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