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Taliban, US sign deal to end 18-year long war in Afghanistan

The historic deal has been years in the making, as all sides kept seeking advantage on the battlefield

Saturday February 29, 2020 8:12 PM, ummid.com with inputs from IANS

US Taliban Peace Deal

[The historic deal has been years in the making, as all sides kept seeking advantage on the battlefield (Photo: Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera)]

Doha: The US and the Taliban on Saturday signed an agreement aimed at paving the way towards peace in Afghanistan after more than 18 years of conflict.

The US and its Nato allies have agreed to withdraw all their troops from the country within 14 months if the militants uphold the deal, BBC reported. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Taliban leaders attended the signing ceremony in Doha in Qatar.

Talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban are due to follow.

Under the agreement signed in Doha, Taliban also agreed not to allow al-Qaeda or any other extremist group to operate in the areas they control.

The US invaded Afghanistan weeks after the September 2001 attacks by allegedly by al-Qaeda group reportedly based in Afghanistan. Taliban, then ruling in Afghanistan, had denied the allegations.

US Casualties in Afghanistan

More than 2,400 US troops have been killed during the conflict. About 12,000 are still stationed in the country. President Trump has promised to put an end to the conflict.

The historic deal has been years in the making, as all sides kept seeking advantage on the battlefield.

The agreement is born of America's determination to bring troops home and a recognition, at least by some Taliban, that talks are the best route to return to Kabul.

A significant step forward

It's a significant step forward, despite deep uncertainty and scepticism over where it will lead. When the only alternative is unending war, many Afghans seem ready to take this risk for peace.

This process will test the Taliban, but also veteran Afghan leaders of the past, and a new generation which has come of age in the last two decades and is hoping against hope for a different future.

14 months for US, NATO pullout from Afghanistan

The US and its Nato allies will withdraw all their troops from Afghanistan in 14 months if the Taliban uphold their commitments under the deal signed today in Dohar, Qatar.

The announcement came in a joint US-Afghan declaration issued before the agreement was signed.

"The coalition will complete the withdrawal of their remaining forces from Afghanistan within 14 months following the announcement of this joint declaration and the US-Taliban agreement... subject to the Taliban's fulfilment of its commitments," the statement released by the US and Afghan governments said.

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