MOSCOW, December 16. /TASS/. The United States and the Taliban (terror group, outlawed in Russia) have agreed that Russia and some other countries would be witnesses to the signing of a peace agreement, and Moscow is ready to act in that capacity, Russian Presidential Envoy for Afghanistan and Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Second Asian Department Zamir Kabulov told TASS.
"Talks [between the US and the Taliban] are underway in Doha. I saw some reports that the parties took a break for consultations with their leadership, the Taliban with their leadership and [US Special Representative for Afghanistan] Zalmay Khalilzad - with the American," the diplomat noted. "Serious issues related to creating preliminary conditions for the signing itself are discussed there. The text itself has already been agreed on, both the Americans and the Taliban have confirmed that to us back in September."
According to Kabulov, the Taliban initially said that "Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran and some other key states should act as the guarantors of these agreements." "However, later on, during the discussion with the Americans, both sides agreed that all those countries would act as witnesses. We are ready to take part in any capacity, the fact itself is important for us," Kabulov stressed. "It is important for us to ensure that this agreement is signed as soon as possible so that further progress can be made."
"That is why we are interested in the success of the US-Taliban negotiations, which pave the way for intra-Afghan talks, the principal stage from our viewpoint," he added.
In the fall of 2018, the United States began peace talks with the Taliban. The government in Kabul did not take part in them, it was just briefed on their results after the talks. In September, the US envoy for Afghanistan confirmed that an agreement had been reached in principle with the Taliban after nine rounds of consultations. However, later on, US President Donald Trump said that he had cancelled a secret meeting with his Afghan counterpart and the group’s leaders at his Camp David residence.
On December 4, the US Department of State reported that Khalilzad had travelled to Qatar to resume negotiations with the Taliban.