The Taliban has been fighting the US-led forces in Afghanistan since it was toppled from power in 2001. USA had attacked Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks to find the mastermind Osama bin Laden, who was later found and eliminated in Pakistan. More than 100,000 Afghans have been killed or injured since 2009 when the United Nations Assistance Mission began documenting casualties.
The peace talks were launched in 2018 as part of a push by US President Donald Trump’s administration to strike a deal with the Taliban, as he seeks re-election in 2020. The two sides were on the verge of signing a peace agreement in September when Trump abruptly cancelled the talks after a Taliban attack killed an American soldier.
The Negotiation That Can Change It All
The deal is expected to outline the withdrawal of US troops and a guarantee that Afghan soil will not be used as a launchpad to conduct attacks on foreign countries. Currently, 14,000 US troops and some 17,000 troops from 39 NATO allies and partner countries are stationed in Afghanistan in a non-combatant role.
The Potential Peacemakers
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that upon successful implementation of this agreement, the US would move to sign a peace deal with the Taliban on February 29.
Soon after, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed the development and said both sides will invite senior representatives to take part in the peace deal “signing ceremony”. In a televised address, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced the reduction in violence (RIV) would begin at midnight local time on Friday (19:30 GMT).