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Taliban expects Russia, China to act as guarantors of agreement with US

The "international witnesses" may also incude Islamic countries and the UN

DOHA, July 25. /TASS/. The Taliban movement (outlawed in Russia) expects that Russia and China would become guarantors of a peace agreement with the United States, Spokesman for the Taliban’s Qatar office Mohammad Sohail Shaheen said in an interview with TASS.

When asked if the Taliban needed some countries to act as guarantors of the movement’s agreement with Washington, he answered in the affirmative. "After we complete a peace agreement, during an announcement ceremony there will be international witnesses like China, Russia, neighboring countries, maybe Islamic countries and the UN. They will be present there and they will witness the signing of a peace agreement. Of course, Russia and China will be [there]," Shaheen added.

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said that Washington planned to reach a peace agreement with the Taliban by September 1. Following the last round of talks with the Taliban, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said that the parties had achieved progress on all four aspects of the future agreement, including counter-terrorism guarantees, troop withdrawal, participation in intra-Afghan talks and an indefinite ceasefire.

The military operation in Afghanistan was launched in December 2001. The number of Western troops deployed to the country exceeded 150,000 at the operation’s peak in 2010-2013. Most of the US and NATO troops were pulled out of Afghanistan in 2014 but about 14,000 military servicemen, instructors and advisers still remain in the country.