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Afghanistan's President has rejected foreign interference as the United States and the Taliban appear to be closing in on a peace deal without the Afghan government at the table.

President Ashraf Ghani spoke during the Muslim holiday Eid Al Adha and as US and Taliban negotiators continue their work in the Gulf nation of Qatar, where the insurgents have a political office.

Speaking after the Eid prayers, Ghani insisted that next month's presidential election is essential so that Afghanistan's leader will have a powerful mandate to decide the country's future after years of war. 

US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad is seeking a peace deal by Sept. 1, weeks before the vote. The two sides are expected to agree on the withdrawal of some 20,000 US and NATO troops in return for Taliban guarantees that Afghanistan would not be a base for other extremist groups.




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Todays Epaper

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