A gradual withdrawal of forces and the lifting of sanctions …a historic peace agreement between America and the Taliban in Doha
During the signing ceremony, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al-Thani said that the agreement between the United States and the Taliban is the first step to establish a comprehensive peace in Afghanistan, calling on the international community to confront the challenges of peace in Afghanistan.
Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdul Rahman added that his country was aware of the futility of any military solution to the crisis in Afghanistan, and therefore made efforts to bring views between the various parties to the crisis politically, in preparation for a comprehensive peace agreement.
In turn, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during the ceremony that the United States and the Taliban had faced decades of aggressive action and lack of confidence, stressing that the Taliban have demonstrated that they can achieve peace when they decide to do so.
Pompeo added to representatives of the movement, “Keep your promises to sever relations with al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations and continue to fight the Islamic State until victory over it”.
“We reached a series of understandings and we are confident that the Afghan government and the Taliban are aware of the importance of abiding by them … This is a historic moment and we would like to make sure that there will be no terrorist attacks in the future from Afghanistan”.
But the US minister also warned that if the Taliban did not fulfill their obligations, his country would not hesitate to take the necessary decisions, explaining that the United States will determine the level of its withdrawal from Afghanistan based on the Taliban’s implementation of its obligations in the agreement signed today.
Pompeo thanked the neighboring countries of Afghanistan – and in particular Pakistan – for the efforts made by those countries to bring peace to Afghanistan. He also appreciated “Qatar’s role in supporting this historic agreement”.
Pompeo considered that his country contributed to improving the lives of the Afghan people, which he is proud of. He said, “We have respect for the Afghan people, and we know that they are ready to decide their own destiny”.
As for Mullah Abdul Ghani Prader, the Taliban’s deputy political affairs, he said in his speech, “I congratulate everyone on this achievement, and we are committed to implementing the agreement”, considering that the Afghan people have suffered for four decades and hope for a new and prosperous life.
Prader added that the Taliban enters the stage of political action and opens a new page with the international community and pledges to implement all the provisions of the agreement, saying that what happened today is a “historic achievement”.
The governments of the United States and Afghanistan issued a joint statement today, stating that “the coalition will complete the withdrawal of the remaining forces from Afghanistan within 14 months after the publication of this joint declaration and the agreement between the United States and the Taliban … provided that the Taliban fulfill their obligations under the agreement”.
According to the agreement, the United States will initially reduce its forces from five bases in Afghanistan to 8,600, within 135 days of the agreement, and then withdraw all foreign forces within 14 months.
To coincide with the process of troop withdrawal, unprecedented direct peace negotiations between the Taliban and the Kabul authorities are supposed to begin, and that “about five thousand prisoners (of the Taliban) … and about a thousand prisoners from the other side (Afghan forces) are released by the tenth of Next March.
The United States will also lift all sanctions imposed on the Taliban by August 27.
In return, the Taliban is obligated to cut ties with all of the movements designated by the United States as terrorist organizations and not to use the Afghan territory to target others.
The head of the Taliban delegation told the island that tomorrow the first batch of Taliban detainees will be released to the Afghan government. Then talks will begin with the government on March 10 after the detainees’ mutual release is complete.
On the other hand, a member of the Taliban negotiation committee, Amir Khan Mottaki, said to the island, “We are very pleased that we have achieved this historic agreement, as it will allow the withdrawal of all American forces … and will bring peace and stability to Afghanistan and everyone recognized it”.
He added that the Taliban provided guarantees that Afghan lands would not be used against others, stressing that the movement was open to all parts of Afghan society and that it had not yet decided where to negotiate with the government.
The signing ceremony was attended by officials from 18 countries, most notably Pompeo, the Pakistani foreign ministers, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, and Turkey born Gawishoglu, in addition to the participation of four international organizations.
The Kabul government was not represented at the signing ceremony in Doha, but it sent a team of six people to open a communication channel with the Taliban political office that was established in Doha in 2013.
Prior to the start of the signing ceremony in Doha, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani held in Kabul a joint press conference with US Defense Secretary Mark Esber and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, where Ghani said, “We welcome the negotiations between Washington and the Taliban and there are points that we will work on through direct negotiations with the Taliban”.
The Afghan President added that reaching peace requires sacrifices from the parties concerned and their agreement on the necessity of stopping the war, stressing that peace is part of his government’s plan and a goal for society in order to rebuild the country.
As for the US Secretary of Defense, he warned, “If the Taliban does not respect their obligations, it will lose its opportunity to sit down with its Afghan citizens and discuss the future of its country”, adding that “the United States will not hesitate to cancel the agreement”.
If the Taliban and the Afghan government stick to the agreement, that will be a way to end the war and return American forces to the United States, President Donald Trump said.
Trump said – in a statement to the White House – that the agreement with the Taliban is the result of the arduous efforts made by those who fought hard in Afghanistan for the United States, noting that the agreement is an important step for a lasting peace in a new Afghanistan, free of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, and any terrorist group that seeks to inflict Hurt the United States, as he put it.
The statement also said, “We are working to end America’s longest wars and bring our troops home…the path of withdrawing American forces from Afghanistan depends on the extent of the Taliban’s compliance with the obligations it undertook”.
The statement added that the number of troops in Afghanistan would be reduced while maintaining the anti-terrorist forces to “dismantle terrorist groups”, and added, “Our soldiers have done an important job in uprooting terrorism and bringing peace, but the time has come to bring them back to their homes”.
He also said, “We will ensure that Afghan lands are not used again to threaten the lives of Americans”.
Source: Al Jazeera