- The U.S. has, however, threatened to "nullify" the deal if the signed upon commitments aren't adhered to.
- Pompeo said the U.S. is "realistic" about the peace deal it signed, but is "seizing the best opportunity for peace in a generation."
- The signing of the agreement comes a week after the international coalition led by the United States and the Taliban pledged to reduce violence in the region.
The United States and the Taliban signed a historic peace agreement in Doha, Qatar Saturday, which opens the door to the total military withdrawal of Americans from Afghanistan after 18 years of war. As per the signed agreement, the U.S. would withdraw forces down to 8,600, from 13,000, with remaining troops withdrawing in 14 months.
The U.S. has, however, threatened to “nullify” the deal if the signed upon commitments aren’t adhered to. The withdrawal is pending the Taliban’s respect for the agreement and its commitment to combat terrorism. U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the United States “would not hesitate to nullify the agreement” if it is disregarded.
“Should the Taliban fail to honor their commitments they will forfeit their chance to sit with fellow Afghans and deliberate on the future of their country,” Esper added. “This is a hopeful moment, but it is only the beginning. The road ahead will not be easy. Achieving lasting peace in Afghanistan will require patience and compromise among all parties,” Mr. Esper said.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attended the ceremony in Qatar, where the Taliban have a political office, but did not sign the agreement. Addressing reporters after the signing ceremony, Pompeo said the U.S. is “realistic” about the peace deal it signed, but is “seizing the best opportunity for peace in a generation.” Pompeo, who said he was still angry at the Taliban attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, also said that what the soldiers achieved “with blood, sweat and tears” could not be “wasted.”
The European Union has already called for negotiations for a lasting peace among Afghans to begin “without delay.” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said that “the current opportunity to move towards peace should not be missed.” He added that the conclusion Saturday of the agreement Saturday between Afghanistan and the USA, and between the USA and the Taliban, was an important first step towards a complete peace process.
The signing of the agreement comes a week after the international coalition led by the United States and the Taliban pledged to reduce violence in the region. On February 17, the Taliban announced that they had reached an agreement with the United States that would allow the signing of a treaty to end two decades of conflict in Afghanistan.
The agreement also includes the gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops and the release of about half of the Taliban who had been taken to prison by forces loyal to the Afghan regime. The first step in this new phase will be the release by the government of Kabul of 5,000 of the approximately 11,000 members of the movement who are imprisoned. In return, the Taliban have pledged to release about 1,000 prisoners from Afghan forces.