US envoy Khalilzad hopes for Afghan peace deal with Taliban before July elections
WASHINGTON - US peace envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad has expressed the hope that a final deal with Taliban will be clinched before Afghanistan's presidential election in July, Radio Pakistan reported.
Speaking at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation said that although his talks with the Taliban have produced a tentative framework agreement, but negotiations are far from finished.
"It will be better for Afghanistan if we could get a peace agreement before the election, which is scheduled in July," Zalmay Khalilzad said, adding that there remained "a lot of work" to do.
He called for direct talks to begin between the Taliban and the Afghan government as soon as possible.
The talks come as US President Donald Trump pushes to end the Afghanistan conflict, where about 14,000 US troops are still deployed and which has seen countless thousands of civilian and military deaths.
In his annual State of the Union speech on Tuesday, the US President said that the time has come "to at least try for peace."
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