A woman holds a banner showing the President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani during a protest outside Lancaster House in London, Thursday, May 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
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The Afghan government is expected to finalize a peace deal with a notorious militant insurgent group within days, marking a breakthrough in attempts to end the 15-year war, an official and a representative of the group said Saturday.Ataul Rahman Saleem, deputy head of Kabul's High Peace Council, told The Associated Press that the deal with the armed wing of Hezb-i-Islami could be completed Sunday, after two years of negotiations. Negotiations began in July 2014, Karim said, when Hekmatyar received a letter from Ghani, then campaigning to become president, noting that one of Hekmatyar's key conditions for peace -- the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Afghanistan -- was about to be met.Karim and a number of Afghan officials have said that a peace agreement with Hekmatyar's group could encourage Taliban fighters to end their participation in the war, and eventually lead to a full-blown peace.
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