US negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad commented on the Afghanistan negotiations
on Friday, saying he believes “the sooner the better” on such a deal,
and that it is his hope that a deal could be reached before the July presidential election in Afghanistan.
Khalilzad confirmed a framework deal is already in place, though he downplayed this, saying major hurdles remain, and also downplayed the chances of US troops actually leaving the country in the near term.
Instead of withdrawing upon reaching a peace deal, the condition the Taliban are seeking, Khalilzad indicated that the US would only leave if “there is no threat to our national security from Afghanistan.”
He also suggested that he didn’t believe anything that the Taliban has said, insisting that the US “do not trust the words of any of the protagonists” in Afghanistan. He reiterated that nothing is agreed to until the US agrees to everything.
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