Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will witness the signing of an agreement between the US and the Taliban on the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, President Donald Trump said on Friday and announced an agreement that could help his re-election campaign.
The deal, which is part of a broader quest for Afghan reconciliation and an end to the longest US war, faces many obstacles, including an election feud between the two leading politicians in Afghanistan. It is expected to be signed in Qatar's capital Doha on Saturday.
The agreement between the United States and the Taliban would usher in a gradual withdrawal of the American armed forces and coalition forces. The Taliban would have to enter into a formal dialogue with the Afghan government and other political and civil society groups on a permanent nationwide ceasefire and power sharing in post-war Afghanistan.
The U.S. forces invaded southwestern Asia in 2001 to overthrow the Taliban rulers, who were a safe haven in which Al Qaeda planned September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and the Pentagon, involving nearly 3,000 People were killed.
One of the many obstacles to peace is the settlement of a dispute between Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his main political rival, Director General Abdullah Abdullah. Both won the controversial presidential election on September 28.
There is also the undecided question of who will form the Afghan team that will negotiate with the Taliban on how to involve the insurgents in the political process and ultimately share power with the movement.
The agreement provides for a long-planned first withdrawal of approximately 13,000 US troops of approximately 13,000, but will tie further cuts to the Taliban, keeping promises that may pose a challenge, such as: B. the dismantling of close ties with Al Qaeda and other militant groups.
"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," Trump said in a statement, saying that Pompeo would "soon" be a witness of signing.
"We … urge the Afghan people to take this opportunity for peace and a new future for their country," he added without saying when or where the signing would take place.
Pompeo had previously told US lawmakers he had seen a "significant" reduction in violence in Afghanistan in the past six days.
If the violence reduction pact that entered into force on February 22 is extended by a full week, it is expected to sign an agreement between leading U.S. and Taliban negotiators on Saturday in Doha, the Taliban's political headquarters.
Afghan officials met Taliban members in Qatar on Friday to discuss a plan to exchange prisoners.
Pompeo testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee that Washington was watching to see if neighboring Iran could try to play a spoiler role in Afghanistan.
"We have just seen a significant reduction in violence in Afghanistan in the past six days," said Pompeo. He said there is a history of Iran "acting as a spoiler" in Afghanistan.
Trump has made the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan an important foreign policy goal. An agreement with the Taliban to end the 18-year war could improve his prospects for re-election.
American troops are part of a US-led NATO mission that trains and supports Afghan forces and carries out counter-terrorism operations to support the Kabul government and prevent al-Qaida from resurrecting.
"When I applied for office, I promised the American people to bring my troops home and end this war," Trump said in his statement. "We are making significant progress on this promise."
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)