US, Taliban sign historic peace deal to end Afghanistan warLast updated on Feb 29, 2020, 08:36 pm
After months of negotiations, the United States and Taliban on Saturday signed a historic peace agreement to end the 18-year war in Afghanistan.
The deal has been signed by the US officials and Taliban representatives in Qatar's capital, Doha.
The agreement is aimed at gradually withdrawing American forces from Afghanistan, paving the way to end the US' longest fought war.
Deal signed in presence of leaders from several nations
The peace agreement was signed by the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad - who was the chief negotiator for the US in the talks with the Taliban - and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the co-founder of the Taliban.
Leaders from a number of countries, including India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, witnessed the signing of the historic US-Taliban peace deal.
Taliban fighters ordered to refrain from any kind of attacks
Notably, the Taliban ordered its members to refrain from attacks on Saturday, ahead of the signing of the peace agreement.
"Today, all the Taliban fighters are ordered to refrain from any kind of attack...for the happiness of the nation," Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesperson, told Reuters.
"We hope the US remains committed to their promises during the negotiation and peace deal," he added.
Will closely watch Taliban's compliance with commitments: Mike Pompeo
Meanwhile, the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, also witnessed the US troop withdrawal deal in Doha.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Pompeo said, "We will closely watch the Taliban's compliance with their commitments, and calibrate the pace of our withdrawal to their actions."
"This is how we will ensure that Afghanistan never again serves for international terrorists," he added.
Deal will allow Trump to keep key campaign promise
The US-Taliban peace agreement will also allow President Donald Trump to keep his key campaign promise of withdrawing the US troops from Afghanistan.
Extracting US from its "endless wars" and bringing the soldiers home are the promises that Trump made.
According to the deal, however, 8,600 troops will reportedly remain in Afghanistan and the rest will return over the course of 135 days.
Will have powerful path forward to end the war: Trump
"If the Taliban and the Government of Afghanistan live up to these commitments, we will have a powerful path forward to end the war in Afghanistan and bring our troops home," Trump said earlier.
"These commitments represent an important step to...lasting peace in a new Afghanistan, free from al-Qaeda, ISIS, and any other terrorist group that would seek to bring us harm," he added.
Deal to set stage for further negotiations with Taliban
The deal will also pave the way for further negotiations that could lead to a permanent peace treaty between the Afghan Government and the Taliban.
However, end to the US' longest-fought war and permanent peace in Afghanistan hinge on the commitment by the Taliban, which is a fractious entity, to abandon violence and snap ties with al-Qaeda and other terror groups.