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US, Taliban sign peace deal for phased withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan

The US is expected to withdraw about 5000 of its troops, reducing its troop strength in Afghanistan to about 8600 from earlier 13000.

Mar 1, 2020 11:53 IST
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The United States signed a historic peace agreement with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar on February 29, 2020 for a phased withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan, marking an end to America’s longest war after nearly two years of negotiations. 

US Secretary of State Mike Pence was present at the signing of the historic peace agreement with the Taliban representatives. US President Donald Trump had made the announcement. Trump stated that the peace deal is being signed as a part of America’s efforts to bring lasting peace in war-torn Afghanistan. 

India witnessed the signing as an observer nation. Indian envoy to Qatar, P Kumaran had attended the event on behalf of the nation. India has played a significant role in the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan. The nation welcomed the peace deal and stated that New Delhi will support all the opportunities that end the war and bring peace and stability in Afghanistan.

US-Taliban Peace Agreement

• The US-Taliban peace deal was signed at 11:00 GMT at the Sheraton Hotel in Doha on February 29, 2020. Under the peace agreement, the US will withdraw thousands of its troops from Afghanistan in a phased manner. 

• The Taliban will be required to initiate a dialogue with the Afghan government and other political and civil society groups to invoke a permanent ceasefire and peaceful-power sharing in post-war Afghanistan.

• The peace deal comes after nearly two years of negotiations in Qatar’s capital city, Doha. The signing was witnessed by diplomats from several nations including the US, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and other UN member states.

• Following the signing, the US is expected to withdraw about 5000 of its troops, reducing its troop strength in the nation to about 8600 from earlier 13000. Further callbacks will be issued depending upon compliance from the Taliban in meeting certain counter-terrorism conditions. 

• The US and the Taliban had called for a seven-day cooling-off period before the signing of the deal, which went peacefully. 

Significance

The US-Taliban peace deal will also bring an end to the massive investment of money and lives, as the US has spent over $750 billion and tens of thousand human lives have been lost or permanently scarred and interrupted on all sides in the decades-long war. 

Background

The Afghanistan War began on October 7, 2001 when the US and NATO forces initiated aerial bombings in the nation, to target the Taliban and Al-Qaeda camps. 

The war was initiated in response to the 9/ 11 attacks against the United States on the morning of September 11, 2001, which targeted and struck down the twin towers of the World Trade Centre. Al-Qaeda leader, Osama Bin Laden was suspected of being behind the attacks. He later claimed the responsibility of the attacks in 2004. 

The US-led coalition forces invaded Afghanistan, launched the War of terror and eventually toppled the Taliban regime on December 7, 2001. The Taliban had refused to comply with the US to expel Al-Qaeda from the nation and help in extraditing Osama Bin Laden.

Despite being removed from power, conflict continued in Afghanistan between Taliban insurgents and the NATO-backed Afghan forces. Osama Bin Laden, who had evaded capture for almost a decade, was located finally and killed by the US navy’s SEAL team in May 2011 under Barack Obama’s Presidency. 

US President Donald Trump had promised to bring the US troops in Afghanistan back home and end the long war during his 2016 Presidential campaign. 

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