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  • Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (C), U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper (R) and NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg (L) at a press conference, Kabul, Afghanistan, Feb. 29, 2020.

    Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (C), U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper (R) and NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg (L) at a press conference, Kabul, Afghanistan, Feb. 29, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 29 February 2020
Opinion

This agreement is expected to facilitate peace talks among the Afghans and the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

In a ceremony in Doha, Qatar, the United States and the Taliban Saturday signed a peace agreement in the presence of international observers and dignitaries from various countries.

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The pact was signed by the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

"After the long negotiations between the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and the United States, both parties have agreed to sign the agreement," the Taliban said in a statement.

Hours before the ceremony, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, which is the name used by the Taliban to designate themselves, ordered all their combatants to refrain from any type of attack.

"Today all Taliban fighters are ordered to refrain from any kind of attack... for the happiness of the nation," said Zabiullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban.

Once this agreement is signed, the Taliban and the U.S. are expected to take actions such as the release of prisoners and the withdrawal of all foreign military forces.

Currently, President Donald Trump keeps between 12,000 and 13,000 troops in Afghanistan, an Asian country where Washington has been actively intervening for decades.

The US-Taliban agreement is also expected to facilitate the initiation of peace talks within Afghanistan. According to the rebels' statement, however, they will hold peace talks "with several political parties in the country" without mentioning the Afghan government.​​​​​​​

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