A peace agreement was signed between the Trump administration and the Taliban on Saturday, Feb. 29, which would help end 18 years of war in Afghanistan and allow U.S. troops to return home.
U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and the Taliban’s political chief Abdul Ghani Baradar signed the historical deal in Doha, Qatar, under the watch of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, The Hill reported.
Under the agreement, the United States will draw its forces in Afghanistan from the 12,000 troops now to 8,600 troops in the next three to four months. The remaining troops will continue to fight terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIS, and withdraw in 14 months, with the complete pullout depending on the Taliban meeting its commitments to prevent terrorism.
In turn, the Taliban “will not allow any of its members, other individuals or groups, including al-Qaeda, to use the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its allies.”
The Taliban also committed to sending a “clear message that those who pose a threat to the security of the United States and its allies have no place in Afghanistan” and will instruct its members not to cooperate with groups or individuals that threaten the United States.
According to the agreement, the Taliban and the Afghanistan would start the talks of reconciliation, scheduled from March 10. The intra-Afghan talks will be launched with a prisoner release.
“We’re just at the beginning. Furthering the cause of peace will require serious work and sacrifice by all sides,” Pompeo said ahead of the deal signing. “This agreement will mean nothing and today’s good feelings will not last if we don’t take concrete actions on commitments and promises that have been made.”
The United States and the Taliban have been at war since President George W. Bush ordered the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks which were carried out by al-Qaeda operatives harbored by the Taliban.
During the war, the United States spent more than $750 billion, and on all sides the war cost tens of thousands of lives, permanently scarred and indelibly interrupted, according to The Associated Press.
President Trump campaigned on ending America’s so-called endless wars and has reached a deal with the Taliban while he is preparing for his 2020 reelection campaign.