Foes no more? US-Taliban close to Peace Deal

taliban

The Taliban, the United States and Afghan security forces have raised hopes for a resolution to the 18-year-long war after a week-long reduction in violence on last Friday. Reports suggest that the agreement between US and Taliban representatives promises to secure a peace deal on February 29, that can lead to a withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan.

Crux of the Matter

Checkered Past
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).

Curiopedia

The Taliban are one of the mujahideen (“holy warriors” or “freedom fighters”) groups that formed during the war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan (1979-89). After the withdrawal of Soviet forces, the Soviet-backed government lost ground to the mujahideen. In 1992, Kabul was captured and an alliance of mujahideen set up a new government with Burhanuddin Rabbani as interim president. However, the various factions were unable to cooperate and fell to fighting each other. Afghanistan was reduced to a collection of territories held by competing warlords. Most of the Taliban’s leaders were educated in Pakistan, in refugee camps where they had fled with millions of other Afghans after the Soviet invasion. Pakistan’s Jami’at-e ‘Ulema-e Islam (JUI) political party provided welfare services, education, and military training for refugees in many of these camps. More Info

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