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article imageOp-Ed: Peace deal between Taliban and US signed on February 29

By Ken Hanly     Mar 1, 2020 in Politics
It took 18 months of talks to reach an agreement signed in Doha Qatar between the Taliban and the US that hopefully paves the way for peace in Afghanistan and the departure of all foreign troops.
The agreement
The full text
of the agreement can be found in an Al Jazeera article. There are four main parts to the comprehensive agreement.
The first part consists of guarantees and enforcement mechanisms designed to prevent the use of Afghanistan by any group that would be against the security of the United States or its allies. The second part consists of enforcement mechanisms, and announcement of a timeline governing the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Afghanistan. The third section requires the Taliban to begin intra-Afghan negotiations beginning on March 10 after the announcement of guarantees that Afghanistan will not be used against the security of the US. The fourth section requires that a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire would be part of the agenda for the intra-Afghan negotiations. The date and modalities of this ceasefire including joint implementation mechanisms will be announced together with the completion of negotiations setting forth the future political development of Afghanistan.
The four parts of the agreement are interrelated and each will be carried out within its own timeline and terms. Agreement on the first two parts would pave the way for the final two parts.
US troop withdrawal
The agreement would see US troop presence in Afghanistan reduced from the 13,000 there now to 8,600 within 135 days and will be fully withdrawn within 14 months. This means that US at least some US troops can remain for over a year more. No doubt if the US feels that the Taliban are not keeping their part of the agreement in negotiation with other Afghan parties the US might decide it was not require to withdraw all its troops either. NATO and other coalition forces would be reduced proportionally over the same time period.
Prisoner releases as a confidence building measure
The agreement commits the US to start immediately working with relevant groups on a plan to quickly release combat and political prisoners as a confidence-building measure. The agreement says that up to five thousand Taliban prisoners and 1,000 prisoners of the other side will be released by March 10 this year.
Afghan president Afran Ghani has already objected to the terms of the prisoner swap as reported in a recent Digital Journal article. It remains to be seen if these terms in the agreement will be met.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Taliban US relations, Afghan war, US Taliban peace agreement
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