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US, Taliban sign peace deal in Doha

US, Taliban sign peace deal in Doha

Ashraf Siddiqui
Doha
The US and the Taliban signed a historic peace deal on Saturday under the auspices of Qatar, after months of negotiations in Doha to end the US’ longest war fought in Afghanistan since 2001.
The agreement, signed by US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, will pave the way for the US to gradually withdraw its troops from Afghanistan within 14 months.
The agreement was signed in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defense Affairs HE Dr Khalid bin Mohammed al Attiyah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Andulrahman al Thani, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Foreign Minister of Pakistan Shah Mahmoud Qureshi, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, a number of foreign ministers, representatives of various governments.
The four main points of the agreement are — a timeline of 14 months for the withdrawal of all US and NATO troops from Afghanistan; a Taliban guarantee that Afghan soil will not be used as a launchpad that would threaten the security of the US; the launch of intra-Afghan negotiations by March 10; and a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.
Mullah Abdul Ghani expressed his gratitude to the Amir HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani for facilitating the peace process.
“The agreement was a positive step in the interest of Afghans and the world. The Taliban are committed to the implementation of the agreement,” he said.
“The Afghans will now heave a sigh of relief and begin a prosperous life under the shadow of an Islamic system after the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Afghanistan,” he added.
The US Secretary of State said, “I know there will be a temptation to declare victory, but victory for Afghans will only be achieved when they can live in peace and prosper.”US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar after signing a peace deal in Doha on Saturday.