By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: 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 is expected to lead to a dialogue between the Taliban and the Afghan government that, if successful, could ultimately see an end to the grinding 18-year conflict.s
Addressing the signing ceremony, Pompeo said victory for Afghans can only be achieved when they can live in peace and for US when Americans and its allies doesn’t have live in fear of another terror attack.
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 announced a joint declaration with President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.
The declaration reiterates the commitment of the US and NATO to Afghanistan and says that a full withdrawal of US forces will take place over the next 14 months provided that the Taliban fulfill their commitments of the agreement.
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.