Major breakthrough in ending 18 years of U.S. military presence in Afghanistan

Clay Curtis
February 16, 2020

Earlier it was reported that the Taliban gave the us Ambassador to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad document with proposals for the establishment of a temporary ceasefire in Afghanistan for a period of 7-10 days.

Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Esper said the Taliban might spread propaganda - about the agreement - but the reality is that they are ready to "quit violence" and "acknowledge a pluralistic society", the statement read. All-Afghan peace talks would then begin within 10 days as part of the plan, which envisions the phased withdrawal of USA forces over 18 months. The Taliban on the other hand has consented to a week-long ceasefire when neither they nor the United States troops will conduct any operations.

The incident came as the United States and the Taliban agreed to a weeklong reduction in violence in Afghanistan.

What follows is likelier to be much more complex: negotiations between the Taliban and Afghan government officials over a possible role for the Islamist militant group in the government and the future shape of the Afghan state.

To make good on its promise to release Taliban prisoners, Washington is going to need the cooperation of Ghani, who has been critical of the way USA envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has conducted the talks with the Taliban, complaining about being kept in the dark. Taliban officials say they already have given their list of thousands of insurgents being held in Afghan prisons.

The draft agreement ensured that over 5,000 U.S. troops will withdraw from five American bases in the first 135 days after the signing of the deal.

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But he has also acknowledged that the administration didn't necessarily know when and where future attacks were being planned. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Rand Paul, R-Ky., notably crossed party lines today alongside six other Republicans.

In 2019, as hostilities increased with the Taliban as well as militants loyal to Islamic State, the US launched more than 7,400 airstrikes in Afghanistan, the most in at least a decade.

"The whole aim, and President Ghani has clearly supported this many times, is that we would like to initiate an inter-Afghan negotiation process", Stoltenberg said.

The U.S. -Taliban deal is expected to include the withdrawal of a few thousand American troops within months.

The acid test of the Taliban's sincerity will be their willingness to accept elections, Mr Ghani said - something they have always refused to engage in.

Still, even skeptics agree that an intra-Afghan dialogue needs to start soon.

However, in September 2019, after a series carried out by the Taliban in Kabul and other cities of terrorist attacks, whose victims were American military, the US President Donald trump ordered to stop talks with the Taliban and to cancel the signing of the agreement.

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