This year has seen many landmark developments for the Afghanistan peace process—in all likelihood, the prospects of the end of the nearly two decades old war appear close. Yet timing is everything—and those in charge of administering the process have to proceed very carefully.

So far, the meetings between the American and Pakistani representatives seem to be going well. A recent meeting between Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation, and General Austin Scott Miller, commander of the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, with Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa at the GHQ, looked to be productive for a diplomatic solution in Afghanistan. The stage seems set for a peace offering in Afghanistan, with Pakistan playing a large part.

Yet how soon is this expected to happen, considering this is the second such meeting that has occurred between American and Pakistani officials? The pace of these meetings, and the ones between the Afghan government and the Taliban indicate that it might take more than a few months—but it seems the US President has different plans. Taking probably even US security officials by surprise, US President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that he wants to bring all US troops home from Afghanistan by Christmas.

Is this just a bluff made by a political leader hoping to woo in some last-minute votes in the upcoming election? It is clear why Trump would make such a statement—he has been criticised for not following up on his 2016 promise of withdrawal of troops in his presidency. Yet the fast-tracking of this action now, when the negotiations are at a delicate phase, could sabotage the whole process. Negotiating sides are not even close to an agreement—political analysts find it difficult to predict what the future of an Afghan government will look like, whether it will be a democratic republic or a return to the Islamic emirate model. A complete withdrawal now would give the Taliban a big boost over the US-allied government. This makes the President’s sudden statement difficult to take seriously—the officials from all sides spearheading the peace process need to filter out the noise and deliberate every step of the negotiations precisely and meticulously.