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US on verge of defeat, claims chief Taliban negotiator

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Washington:  The Taliban's chief negotiator has claimed that the US is on the verge of defeat and will quit Afghanistan soon "either of their own accord or they will be forced out", the media reported.

The remarks were made by Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai in an April 28 speech to an "internal gathering" in Doha, Qatar, just two days before he led his team of insurgent negotiators into fresh talks with US interlocutors, the Voice of America news outlet reported on Tuesday. 

Pro-Taliban social media outlets last Friday released video of Stanekzai's speech, one day after US special envoy on Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad and his team wrapped up the week-long negotiations with Taliban representatives in the Qatari capital.

In the speech, Stanekzai praised what he called the "bravery of the Afghan nation" for defeating past British and Soviet invasions of their country and resisting the current foreign military presence, referring to the US-led coalition, which is training and advising pro-government forces in battles against the terror group.

"God has helped us defeat three super powers in the last century. The third super power that we are currently confronted with is also on the verge of defeat, inshallah (God willing). You will soon hear they also will withdraw (from Afghanistan) either of their own accord or they will be forced out," he said.

The Taliban chief negotiator also criticized Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and compared him as well as other pro-government leaders with those who had supported Moscow during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Last week, former US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said that the Taliban might retake control of the country if American troops were pulled out of Afghanistan.

After wrapping up the sixth round of talks with the Taliban last week, US special envoy Khalilzad had said they made "steady but slow progress".

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