US President Donald Trump said that he would personally sign the peace deal with the Taliban group if it were to happen.
“Time to come home,” he said. “They want to stop. You know, they’ve been fighting a long time. They’re tough people. We’re tough people. But after 19 years, that’s a long time.”
The US and the Taliban announced the truce earlier in February.
It all depends on a 7-day reduction in violence, that started on midnight February 22nd against 23rd, Afghanistan time.
If the truce proves a success, it will be followed by the signing of the peace accord on February 29th.
“We think they want to make a deal. We want to make a deal. I think it’s going to work out. We’ll see,” Trump said.
Trump expressed cautious optimism about reaching a peace deal.
“You know we have a certain period of nonviolence. It’s been holding up, it’s a day and a half so we’ll see what happens. But people want to make a deal, and I think the Taliban wants to make a deal too, they’re tired of fighting.”
There is hope of reaching a peace deal.
“In general, we do see (a reduction in violence),” acting Afghan interior minister Masood Andrabi told AFP.
It should be noted that the “reduction in violence” is not a “ceasefire.” The United States, the Taliban and Afghan government forces are expected to largely end all offensive operations throughout the country.
No details have been released to measure the success of the reduction in violence period, though a senior administration official told reporters in Germany this month that the terms were “very specific.”
For the Taliban, that reportedly includes ending roadside bombings, suicide attacks and rocket strikes.
U.S. and Afghan forces, meanwhile, are expected to continue carrying out counterterrorism operations against ISIS and al Qaeda.
At a Pentagon briefing this past week, Rear Adm. William Byrne Jr. of the Joint Staff said Gen. Scott Miller, who leads U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, will oversee a “continual evaluative process” on whether the reduction in violence is holding.
The Pentagon hasn’t said whether the United States agreed to withdraw all troops, but officials have talked about keeping a counterterrorism force there for the time being.
Some US Senators are skeptical of the deal, such as Lindsey Graham.
He said said he was “willing to give” the Trump administration’s plan “a try.” But he also ticked off a list of conditions he would consider an “honorable resolution,” including a deal that protects human rights and women’s rights and allows the United States to continue to “protect the American homeland from international terrorists.”
Mac Thornberry, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, questioned how the United States would verify whether intra-Afghan talks are “real” or “a fig leaf.”
Lawmakers also noted the Trump administration was previously close to signing a deal with the Taliban before it fell apart at the last minute.
Furthermore, regardless of what the US calls it, and claims that the Taliban want it more than ever, the fact is that Washington is admitting that it lost the war, after nearly two decades of the intervention. The US has essentially said that it couldn’t deal with the Taliban group.
Trump will not only sign the US capitulation against the Taliban, he also boasts with it.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Military Situation In Afghanistan On February 23, 2020 (Map Update)
- Taliban And U.S. To Possibly Sign Peace Deal By The End Of February