The United States signed a landmark contract with the Taliban on Saturday and set a schedule for full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan within 14 months to end the longest war ever.
The deal is expected to result in a dialogue between the Taliban and the Kabul government that, if successful, could ultimately end the 18-year conflict.
Taliban fighter and dealmaker Mullah Baradar signed the deal with Washington's chief negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad at a gold-plated desk in a conference room at a luxury hotel in Doha.
The couple then shook hands when the people in the room shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is the greatest).
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo watched the two of them sign the deal after asking the insurgents to "keep their promises to cut ties with Al Qaeda."
On the eve of the signing, President Donald Trump asked the Afghan people to take the chance of a new future.
"If the Taliban and the Afghan government meet these commitments, we will find a strong way forward to end the war in Afghanistan and bring our troops home," he said.
However, the position of the Afghan government, which has been excluded from direct talks between the US and the Taliban, remains unclear, and the country is hit by a new political crisis amid controversial election results.
"Important first step"
The Doha Agreement was drawn up in a stormy year of dialogue marked by the abrupt lifting of Trump's efforts in September.
The signing follows a weeklong partial ceasefire, most of which has been concluded across Afghanistan to strengthen confidence between the warring parties and to show that the Taliban can control their armed forces.
The United States and its allies will withdraw all of its forces from Afghanistan within 14 months if the Taliban meets the terms of the agreement.
After an initial reduction in troops to 8,600 within 135 days of Saturday's signing, the US and its partners will complete "the withdrawal of all remaining forces from Afghanistan" within 14 months.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced the agreement as "the first step to lasting peace".
"The road to peace is long and difficult. We need to be prepared for setbacks and spoilers. There is no easy road to peace, but this is an important first step," the former Norwegian prime minister told reporters in Kabul.
America has spent more than $ 1 trillion on fighting and reconstruction in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion that ousted the Taliban after the September 11, 2001 bombings.
Approximately 2,400 US soldiers were killed, along with unknown tens of thousands of Afghan troops, Taliban fighters, and Afghan civilians.
"Happy and celebrating"
The insurgents said they ended all hostilities in honor of the agreement on Saturday.
"Since the agreement is signed today and our people are happy and celebrating it, we have all stopped our military operations across the country," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP.
Every insurrectionary promise to guarantee Afghanistan is never used again by jihadist movements such as Al-Qaida and the Islamic State group to plan attacks abroad. This will be the key to the sustainability of the agreement.
The protection of Al Qaeda by the Taliban was the main reason for the US invasion after the September 11 attacks.
The group, which came to power in the chaos of the civil war in the 1990s, suffered a rapid defeat by the United States and its allies. They retired before reappearing to wage a deadly uprising against the new government in Kabul.
After the end of the NATO combat mission in December 2014, the majority of the Western armed forces withdrew from the country and was in an increasingly precarious situation.
While Afghans are trying to end violence, experts say that any possible peace will depend on the outcome of talks between the Taliban and the Kabul government.
Given the fact that President Ashraf Ghani and rival Abdullah Abdullah are in dispute over the controversial election results, few expect the pair, unlike the Taliban, to be a united front that would then be able to take over negotiations ,
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)