On Monday, the steps towards peace came closer when a U.S. Convoy showed a draft of the U.S.-Taliban deal to Afghan leaders. However, It is unclear if the draft was giving to President Ashraf Ghani and his team. 

During the negotiations between U.S. and Taliban forces, the Afghan government has been sidelined during the cease-fire talks. This is because Taliban sees the Afghan government as puppets of the U.S. lead invasion on Afghan soil. 

The Afghan government will be apart of the Intra-Afghan talks that will include U.S.,Taliban, and Afghan officials. The Intra-Afghan talks will occur once an agreement is reached in the U.S.-Taliban deal. The Afghan government says it has a negotiation team prepared for talks but, will not state who will be apart of those talks.

The Taliban are at the strongest point since the U.S. invasion to destroy the terrorist group after the attacks of 9/11. The Taliban now controls or holds influence close to nearly half of Afghanistan. While negotiating has been on going the militant group has increased attacks on Afghan forces to bolster its negotiating stance. Taliban leaders want all of the 20,000 U.S. and NATO forces out of Afghanistan as apart of the cease-fire agreement. 

Taliban officials are already illustrating the departure of U.S. and NATO forces as victory for the insurgency.  Suhail Shaheen a Taliban Spokesman stated, We are on the verge of ending the invasion and reaching a peaceful solution for Afghanistan,” over the weekend during the Qatar meetings. 

Within the U.S.-Taliban agreement the U.S. is looking for assurances that Afghanistan will not be a safe haven for extremists groups to plan and launch terror attacks.

A U.S. official apart of the Khalilzad’s negotiation team speaking on condition of anonymity said, “any potential peace deal will not be based on blind trust, but will instead contain clear commitments that are subject to our monitoring and verification.”

After the meeting, Presidental Spokesman Sediq Seddiqi spoke with reporters about the peace talks. Seddiqi advised reporters the government would study the deal to make sure it focuses on creating a long-lasting cease-fire and direct negotiations with Taliban leaders. “It will take couple of days, probably, that we will get back to them and give them our observations,” he said when speaking to Associated Press. 

On Sunday, envoy Zalmay Khalilzad met twice with President Ghani after arriving from Qatar early that day. This marks the ninth-round of negotiations with no final agreement on terms of a cease-fire. If this agreement can be solidified it could mark the end of a long war that has soldiered on for nearly two decades. 

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