According to the Washington Post, the Trump administration is preparing to reduce its troops in Afghanistan from nearly 14000 to between 8000 and 9000.
The agreement would require the Taliban to broker a peace deal directly with the Afghan government, and give assurances the country won’t be used as a launching pad for international terror attacks, the report said.
The plan has taken shape after months of negotiations between the Taliban and the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad. Officials said an agreement could be finalized ahead of the Afghan presidential election in September, though they cautioned that Taliban leaders could delay and that significant challenges remain, the report added.
Khalilzad has held a series of meetings with Pakistani and Afghan officials over the past several months to brief them about the outcome of his meetings with the Taliban, who are talking to prominent Afghans in Kabul.
“In Doha, if the Taliban do their part, we will do ours, and conclude the agreement we have been working on,” Khalilzad tweeted on Wednesday, adding that he was, “Wrapping up my most productive visit to Afghanistan since I took this job as Special Representative.”
“The US and Afghanistan have agreed on next steps. And a negotiating team and technical support group are being finalized,” he added.
The U.S. has lost more than 2,400 soldiers in its longest war and has spent more than $900 billion on everything from military operations to the construction of roads, bridges and power plants.