To end their long years of feud, the United States and the Taliban are set to sign a historic peace agreement. The signing was announced by both parties Friday just hours after Kabul talked about a week-long partial truce across Afghanistan is going to kick-off this weekend.
The statements issued by both the Taliban and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that both parties have agreed to sign the accord on February 29 at Doha, Qatar.
According CBS, Pompeo stated that upon the success, U.S. negotiators in Doha have reached an understanding with the Taliban regarding reduction of nationwide violence in Afghanistan. Hence, if the implementation of the said understanding will be successful, the signing of the U.S.-Taliban peace agreement is expected to push through.
With the truce that may be the beginning of ending the longest war America has been on, Pompeo also added that negotiations between the Taliban and Afghan Government will begin soon after.
On a statement released by Afghan National Security Council spokesman Javed Faisal, the reduction in violence between Afghan security forces, the U.S. and the Taliban begins on Saturday.
For more than a year now, Washington has been in talks with Taliban trying to secure a deal in where the U.S. would pull out thousands of troops, and in return Taliban will provide security guarantees promising to hold peace talks with the government in Kabul.
If the week-long reduction in violence succeeds, this would show that Taliban can control their forces and would demonstrate good faith ahead of signing any agreement. This would also likely to see the U.S. withdrawing half of its 12,000-13,000 troops currently stationed in Afghanistan.
According to FP, a Taliban source in Pakistan said that if the agreement is indeed signed on February 29, talks between the Afghan government and Taliban forces to broker a broader peace deal are expected to start on March 10.
On Friday, Russia described the upcoming accords between the warring parties as an event of great importance for peace in Afghanistan. In addition, National Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) chief Jens Stolenberg, said that the pact had opened a gateway to peace sustainability in the war-stricken country.
However, despite the peace talks, Kandahar based Taliban Commander Hafiz Saeed Hedayat said that his orders was only to refrain from ttacking major cities and highways. Further adding that there is only need for reduced violence which means the violence may continue in the districts.
It can be recalled that the Taliban and the U.S. has come close to a deal before. However, it was mixed by U.S. President Donald Trump back in September. This only means that any truce comes with complications and danger. Hence, analysts trying to stem the bloodshed in Afghanistan may result to one of these complications and fail.
Still, the reduction in violence is only the first step taken inorder to get intra-Afghan negotiations, according to Andred Watkins, analyst with the International Crisis Group. And whilst these talks could be a tough road, these is still the best avenue to end Afghanistan's decades of conflict.