KABUL, Afghanistan — American and Taliban officials have agreed in principle to the framework of a peace deal in which the insurgents guarantee to prevent Afghan territory from being used by terrorists, and that could lead to a full pullout of American troops in return for a cease-fire and Taliban talks with the Afghan government, the chief United States negotiator said Monday.
“We have a draft of the framework that has to be fleshed out before it becomes an agreement,” the American envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, said in an interview with The New York Times in Kabul. “The Taliban have committed, to our satisfaction, to do what is necessary that would prevent Afghanistan from ever becoming a platform for international terrorist groups or individuals.”
He added: “We felt enough confidence that we said we need to get this fleshed out, and details need to be worked out.”
After nine years of halting efforts to reach a peace deal with the Taliban, the draft framework, though preliminary, is the biggest tangible step toward ending a two-decade war that has cost tens of thousands of lives and profoundly changed American foreign policy.