U.S. pushes ahead with Taliban peace deal

FILE – In this Feb. 29, 2020 file photo, U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, left, and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban group’s top political leader sign a peace agreement between Taliban and U.S. officials in Doha, Qatar. (AP Photo/Hussein Sayed,file)

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UPDATED 2:25 PM PT — Saturday, July 4, 2020

The U.S. envoy to Afghanistan has signaled Washington’s Taliban peace deal, which was signed in February, will now move forward. On Twitter, Zalmay Khalilzad revealed the status of the deal following his week-long tour, which included stops in Uzbekistan, Pakistan and Qatar where Taliban headquarters are located.

According to him, both the U.S. and the terrorist group have “agreed developing plans in support of peace can never start too early.”

Khalilzad added the peace deal will offer many economic benefits. He further suggested joint projects involving Qatar and Pakistan could involve trade and infrastructure.

FILE – In this March 1, 2020 file photo, supporters of Pakistani religious group rally to celebrate the signing agreement between United States and Taliban, in Quetta, Pakistan. (AP Photo/Arshad Butt,file)

The latest push for peace comes amid uncertainty about the Taliban. The New York Times recently reported Russia offered bounties to the group’s militants to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan.

Democrats have called for immediate action to be taken in light of these reports.

“I don’t think there’s anybody on this podium who does not believe that the Russians remain involved in a negative way in Afghanistan,” stated Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).

However, both the White House and GOP lawmakers have denied the report. They have claimed the intelligence it cited has not been corroborated.

“What’s unfortunate is that we are having this discussion because of the New York Times deciding to run with this erroneous information about the president being briefed, which was not true,” stated Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany. “The erroneous information that there was a conclusion, when in fact there was not a conclusion.”

FILE – In this April 9, 2019, file photo, Afghans watch a civilian vehicle burnt after being shot by U.S. forces following an attack near the Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul, File)

In the meantime, President Trump has stressed he wouldn’t be afraid to pull the Taliban peace agreement if the group breaks its promises.

“If bad things happen, we’ll go back,” he said. “We’ll go back so fast, we’ll go back with a force like nobody’s ever seen.”

Both the Taliban and Russia have denied the alleged bounties plot.

MORE NEWS: U.S., Taliban Say Afghan Peace Effort Discussed In Video Talks

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