US and Taliban sign 'momentous' peace agreement

29 February 2020, 13:25

U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, left, and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban group's top political leader
U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, left, and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban group's top political leader. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

A permanent ceasefire has been sealed between the US and the Taliban, in which the US has agreed to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with 31 Taliban delegates in Doha, Qatar, on what he called a "historic day".

The US and its Nato allies have agreed to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan in a step towards peace in the country, following 18 years of conflict.

If the Taliban upholds its side of the deal, troops should leave within 14 months.

The agreement also means that militants in Afghanistan cannot allow al-Qaeda or any other extremist group to operate in the areas they control.

About 12,000 US troops are currently stationed in the country, and more than 2,400 have been killed since the US invaded in the weeks following the September 2001 attacks.

American troop levels will drop to 8,600 in the four to five months following Saturday's signing.

Mr Pompeo said: "The United States and the Taliban have endured decades of hostility and mistrust.

"Previous talks have faltered. This effort only became real for the United States when the Taliban signalled interest in pursuing peace and ending their relationship with al Qaeda and other foreign terrorist groups.

"They also recognise that military victory was impossible."

Afghanistan's Taliban delegation
Afghanistan's Taliban delegation. Picture: PA

Speaking at a second ceremony in Kabul, Afghanistan's president Ashraf Ghani said: "All the people of Afghanistan are looking forward to a permanent peace.

"The tragedy of 9/11 brought us together. Mutual sacrifice created human bonds between us. Mutual interest, your security and our freedom, sustains our relationship in mutual respect, which has made us partners."

"Nato and US partners have spared neither blood nor treasure for attaining the goals of the partnership. We ask you to thank the veterans, especially the gold star families, for their service.

"Our sacrifice has been immense, children, youth in their prime, and men and women in all ages in all walks of life, whose lives have been taken away by senseless acts of violence in terror and public spaces."

"We have the political will and the capacity to make peace because of the resilience of our society, the dynamism of our economy and the capability of our state."

Welcoming the deal, the Foreign Office in London said: "Thanks to the efforts of UK and coalition forces, Afghanistan is no longer a safe haven for international terrorists and Britain's streets are safer.

"But all sides recognise that only a political solution can ensure stability and build a lasting peace in Afghanistan."

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: "These agreements mark a significant moment in the pursuit of peace in Afghanistan.

"The current reduction in violence is welcome and I hope it will be maintained, but meaningful negotiations between the Afghan leadership and the Taliban are the real prize and I hope this opportunity will be seized.

"The only way to achieve lasting peace in Afghanistan is through a political solution."

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Justin Timberlake's mugshot has been released

Justin Timberlake mugshot released after singer arrested for 'driving while intoxicated' in wealthy Hamptons enclave

British teen missing in Tenerife after desperately calling friends from 'the middle of nowhere' on night out

Desperate mum of British teen missing in Tenerife 'beside herself with worry' as she flies out to help with search

Mysterious smoking headless torso missing arms and legs dumped on popular Spanish holiday beach

Horror as smoking headless torso missing arms, legs and head dumped on popular Spanish holiday beach

Olympic athletes ‘could die of overheating’ due to 'dangerous temperatures' at Paris 2024 Games

Olympic athletes ‘could die of overheating’ due to 'dangerous temperatures' at Paris 2024 Games

Justin Timberlake has been arrested for “driving while intoxicated”

Justin Timberlake arrested for 'driving while intoxicated' in wealthy Hamptons enclave

Exclusive
Keir Starmer responds to callers about Palestine.

Starmer says he would take 'full part' in resolving Israel Gaza conflict, pledging to recognise Palestine as part of two-state solution

British teen missing in Tenerife after desperately calling friends from 'the middle of nowhere' on night out

British teen missing in Tenerife after desperately calling friend from 'the middle of nowhere' after night out

This is Mr Putin's first visit to North Korea since 2000

Putin to meet Kim Jong Un in first visit to North Korea in 24 years

Phillips headshot

Mystery of 'Bushman' dad-of-three who went missing with children - before robbing bank at gunpoint

Pressure signals could be used to locate the missing plane

Major breakthrough in MH370 mystery as nuclear sensor picks up crucial sound

The parkour runner damaged the UNESCO World Heritage Site building in Italy in a parkour stunt

Shocking footage captures parkour runner damaging UNESCO World Heritage Site in Italy

Defendant Josef Fritzl, center, is escorted to the fourth day of his trial in the provincial courthouse in St. Poelten, Austria, Thursday, March 19, 2009.

Incest monster Josef Fritzl placed under legal guardianship amid worsening dementia

Rod Stewart (pictured on stage in Copenhagen on Sunday June 9) was booed by German fans for supporting Ukraine

Rod Stewart defends show of support for Ukraine after booing at Germany concert

The OceanGate submersible has five people on board

Poignant CGI shows how deep doomed Titan descended on it's ill-fated final journey to the Titanic wreck

A missing American tourist has been found dead on a beach on a small Greek island west of Corfu, local media reports

American tourist who went missing on hike found dead on Greek island days after death of Dr Michael Mosley

French explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet was one of the five passengers on board Titan

Daughter of 'Mr Titanic' killed in Titan tragedy pays tribute to father one year on from disaster