January 30, 2019 / 11:38 AM / 9 months ago

Trump says Afghanistan talks 'proceeding well'

U.S. President Donald Trump pauses as he announces a deal to end the partial government shutdown as while speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 25, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Negotiations in Afghanistan are going well, U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday, after U.S. officials earlier this week said there had been significant progress in talks to end 17 years of war in the country.

Talks “are proceeding well,” Trump wrote on Twitter. He did not address any possible peace accord with the Taliban or the presence of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

On Monday, U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad told the New York Times that the United States and the insurgent group had sketched the outlines of an eventual peace deal. Analysts, however, said there was no sign that the Taliban had agreed to U.S. demands.

A U.S. State Department spokesman said this week the talks had been “positive” but that no agreement had been reached.

The Trump administration has moved toward withdrawals of U.S. forces after years of overseas deployments. A U.S. official said last month that Trump planned to withdraw more than 5,000 of the 14,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

But Trump’s fellow Republican U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday offered legislation urging the United States to keep troops in Afghanistan as well as Syria, although it was uncertain whether it would become law.

Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Gareth Jones

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