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India to seek Taliban deal details from US

India will seek clarity and details from the Trump administration on the proposed US-Taliban deal during the President’s visit next week, people familiar with the matter said.

The deal, expected to be signed by the end of this month, would lead to the withdrawal of American troops from the landlocked country. India fears it would give Pakistan an opportunity to regain its strategic depth in Afghanistan.

Ahead of Trump’s India visit, external affairs minister S Jaishankar met US special representative Zalmay Khalilzad in Munich on Saturday, on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference on the proposed deal with the Taliban.

The Trump visit could help India get further clarity on the matter ahead of the signing of the deal, people in the know said.

At the February 14-16 Munich Security Conference, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said a proper announcement on the deal would be made in a week to ten days. He also said the US and Afghanistan were now on the same page on the matter.

After the announcement, the Taliban will refrain from violence for a week and the US will then begin to withdraw its forces. Intra-Afghan dialogue can begin after that.

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