Washington, Taliban are preparing to sign an agreement after 18 years of war

The United States and the Taliban are preparing to sign an agreement in Qatar today, as part of a possible path for peace, and an end to the long war between the two parties

Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo is scheduled to attend the signing of the agreement, which provides for the withdrawal of thousands of American soldiers from Afghanistan in exchange for providing security guarantees to the American side.

This comes after a week-long partial truce with the Taliban, and both sides hope to sign the agreement after 18 years of war.

On Friday, Trump announced in a statement that "soon, and as per my direction, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will testify to the signing of an agreement with Taliban representatives."

The agreement provides for the Taliban to accept talks with the Afghan government, which was previously rejected by government officials as "a set of dolls for the Americans."

Trump considered that the week-long calm, which paved the way for this signature, held out widely and was only violated by minor incidents.

And US Defense Secretary Mark Esper will be in Kabul on Saturday to sign a joint declaration with the Afghan government.

Last December, the Taliban announced that they would meet US officials to find a road map for peace, but the militants continued to refuse to hold direct talks with the government in Kabul.

After nine rounds of talks between America and the Taliban, they seemed close to concluding an agreement, and the top US negotiator announced in September 2019 that his country might withdraw 5,400 soldiers from Afghanistan within 20 weeks, as part of an agreement that had been initially made with the Taliban.

But days later, Trump said: The talks "died", after the Taliban admitted killing a US soldier.

"They thought they should kill people in order to improve their negotiating position a little," Trump told reporters, calling the attack "a big mistake."

Since 2011, Qatar has hosted the Taliban leaders who moved to it to discuss peace in Afghanistan, and this was a fluctuating path. A Taliban office was opened in Doha in 2013, and then closed in the same year amid disputes over raising the flags of the organization.

Qatar also hosted a major conference in July that reached a road map for peace in Afghanistan. Significantly, the agreement included Taliban and Afghan government officials, with the latter attending in person.

The war between the two sides began when the United States launched air strikes a month after the September 11, 2011 attacks on the United States, and the Taliban refused to surrender the man behind those attacks, Osama bin Laden.

An International Coalition joined the United States, and the Taliban was quickly overthrown from power, yet the Taliban turned into a rebel force and pursued their bloody attacks, destabilizing successive Afghan governments.



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