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US, Taliban Sign Afghan Peace Agreement In Doha

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US, Taliban Sign Afghan Peace Agreement In Doha

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TOLO News reports (source):

Representatives of the US and Taliban signed the Afghan peace agreement on Saturday at a ceremony held at the Sheraton Hotel in Doha, following 18 months of negotiations.

The agreement was signed by US peace envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the co-founder of Taliban, as head of Taliban’s Qatar office.

The agreement was signed following a successful weeklong period of a reduction in violence which was announced on February 22.

Also on Saturday, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Kabul will announce a joint declaration with President Ashraf Ghani.

The declaration, according to Presidential Palace spokesman Sediq Sediqqi, will reiterate the commitment of the US and NATO to Afghanistan.

The details of the agreement have not yet been shared with the media.

With the signing of the US-Taliban agreement, the US’s longest war may finally be nearing an end, more than 18 years since US President George W. Bush ordered the bombing of Afghanistan in response to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

The US has spent more than $750 billion in Afghanistan.

There are currently around 13,000 US troops in Afghanistan, and it is expected that this will be reduced to 8,600 troops over time following Saturday’s signing.

RT reports (source):

Washington and its allies plan to pull all of their troops out of Afghanistan within 14 months if commitments under the planned US-Taliban deal are implemented in full, the joint US-Afghan document says.

According to the statement by the US and Afghan governments, the US will first scale down the number of soldiers it has currently stationed in Afghanistan, from 13,000 to 8,600, within the first 135 days following an agreement with the Taliban, which is expected to be signed later on Saturday. The remaining US and NATO troops will withdraw from the country within 14 months, clearing all of their bases.

The withdrawal process is conditional on the Taliban fulfilling its commitments under the deal. The peace agreement will include guarantees “to prevent the use of Afghan soil by any international terrorist groups or individuals [working] against the security of the United States and its allies.”

US President Donald Trump said earlier that the agreement may pave the way for the end of political violence in Afghanistan and allow American soldiers to return home.

The US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 following the 9/11 terrorist attack, and has been fighting the Taliban insurgency ever since.

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