The Trump administration’s peace envoy for Afghanistan says that although his talks with the Taliban have produced a tentative “framework” agreement, the negotiations have a long way to go to achieve peace.

Zalmay Khalilzad (ZAHL’-may kah-LEEL’-zahd) said Friday that there is time to make a final deal before Afghanistan’s presidential election in July. But he also stressed that many issues remain to be resolved and that it must be a package deal.

He described the present state of negotiations as having taken two or three steps on a long journey.

He said the Taliban’s top priority is the withdrawal of U.S. troops, whereas the top U.S. objective is ensuring that Afghanistan never again becomes a haven for extremists like al-Qaida, which launched the 9/11 attacks from Afghanistan.

Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad speaks on the prospects for peace, Friday, Feb. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad speaks on the prospects for peace, Friday, Feb. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad speaks on the prospects for peace, Friday, Feb. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad speaks on the prospects for peace, Friday, Feb. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad pauses while speaking about the prospects for peace, Friday, Feb. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad pauses while speaking about the prospects for peace, Friday, Feb. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad approaches the microphone to speak on the prospects for peace, Friday, Feb. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad approaches the microphone to speak on the prospects for peace, Friday, Feb. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad approaches the microphone to speak on the prospects for peace, Friday, Feb. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad approaches the microphone to speak on the prospects for peace, Friday, Feb. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

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