After almost two years of negotiations, The US and Taliban, on Saturday, signed a peace deal that will pave the way for the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. The deal was signed at the Sheraton Hotel in Qatar’s capital Doha.
The deal was signed in the presence of diplomats from Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United States, and India.
According to the deal, the US will withdraw all its forces from Afghanistan ‘within the next 14 months, as per a joint agreement between the Afghanistan government and Washington.
The plan, however, is subject to the Taliban’s fulfilment of its commitments under the US-Taliban agreement.
Afghanistan President, Ashraf Ghani, speaking alongside US Defense Secretary, Mark Esper, and NATO Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, highlighted the sacrifices made by the people of Afghanistan.
Furthermore, the US will have to reduce the number of US military forces in Afghanistan to 8,600 and implement other commitments in the US-Taliban agreement within 135 days of the announcement of this joint declaration and the US-Taliban agreement.
US President Donald Trump had issued a statement on Friday, urging Afghans to seize the opportunity for peace and a new future.
“Nearly 19 years ago, American service members went to Afghanistan to root out the terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks. In that time, we have made great progress in Afghanistan, but at great cost to our brave service members, to the American taxpayers, and to the people of Afghanistan. When I ran for office, I promised the American people I would begin to bring our troops home, and seek to end this war. We are making substantial progress on that promise,” Trump had said.
Both sides had agreed to sign the deal after a week-long “reduction in violence” (RIV) agreement.
Indian ambassador to Qatar, P Kumaran, was also present as an observer. Ahead of the signing ceremony, India foreign secretary Harsh Shringla had paid a visit to Kabul on Friday to convey support to the Afghan people.
Earlier it was announced, that the deal will be followed by a meeting between the Taliban and Afghan leaders to negotiate a post-war framework and issues concerning governance in Afghanistan.