June 25 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that the United States is prepared to start withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, but has not yet reached an official agreement to do so.
Speaking during an unannounced visit to Afghanistan's capital city of Kabul, Pompeo said the presence of U.S. troops in the country is "conditions-based" and that the United States has expressed a willingness to remove the approximately 14,000 troops deployed there.
"We've made clear to the Taliban that we're prepared to remove our forces. I want to be clear, we've not yet agreed on a timeline to do so," Pompeo said.
He added that talks with the Taliban to sever ties with al-Qaida and other terrorist groups have advanced.
"Regarding terrorism, we've made real progress and are nearly ready to conclude a draft text outlining the Taliban commitments to join fellow Afghans in ensuring that Afghan soil never again becomes a safe haven for terrorists," he said.
With Afghanistan's presidential elections set to be held in late September, Pompeo called for a peace deal to be put in place before Sept. 1.
"The pursuit of peace should not wait until the Afghan presidential election," he said. "Election planning must go forward without delay as we pursue the peace that Afghans deserve."
Representatives from the United States and the Taliban are set to hold another round of discussions in Qatar later this week.