FILE - In this Feb. 8, 2019, file photo, Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad at the U.S. Institute of Peace, in Washington.  A fresh round of talks between the U.S. and the Taliban is to begin in Qatar Saturday,…
FILE - Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad at the U.S. Institute of Peace, in Washington, Feb. 8, 2019.

The State Department says the U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan is traveling to Doha Tuesday to resume talks with the Taliban on a peace agreement aimed at ending the 18-year conflict in the country.

A statement says Zalmay Khalizad will also travel to Kabul to  "consult with the leadership of the Afghan government on the peace process and encourage full preparation for intra-Afghan negotiations."

The Taliban has been in talks with the U.S. on a timetable for the withdrawal of American and NATO forces from Afghanistan. Unless that happens, the insurgent group maintains it will not engage in much-sought intra-Afghan negotiations to discuss a permanent cease-fire and issues related to future political governance.

In exchange for a foreign troop withdrawal, the Taliban will be tasked with preventing transnational terrorists from using insurgent-controlled Afghan territory for international terrorism.

Taliban and U.S. negotiators in recent days have repeatedly asserted they are ready to sign a deal.  The two sides are said to working out the details.

Last week, Trump suggested the plan for a U.S. withdrawal is still in the works.

"We're having very good discussions (with the Taliban). We will see what happens. We've really got it down to probably 13,000 people (troops) and we'll be bringing it down a little bit more and then we will decide whether or not we will be staying longer or not," he said.

The U.S. plans to leave behind a "very significant intelligence" force, Trump stressed, for operations against Islamic State and al-Qaida, maintaining that Afghanistan remains "a breeding ground" for terrorists.

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