Language of Afghan peace deal between Taliban and US finalized

Posted Feb 18, 2020 by Ken Hanly
Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheed reported Monday that the Taliban and US have finalized the language of a peace deal for Afghanistan. The US has has not yet confirmed this but had been indicating in recent days that a deal was imminent.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said there had been 'notable progress' in negotiations
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said there had been 'notable progress' in negotiations
Olivier Douliery, AFP/File
If things go well deal should be signed by end of February
Afghan official Abdullah Abdullah, also confirmed that the deal is finalized at last. His understanding was that the two sides signing depends on the reduction of violence. If things go well the deal should be signed by the end of February. Although the exact language in the deal has not been made public as yet, indications are that it is similar to that in a deal finalized last October and is not substantially changed.
Abdullah Abdullah said: "The agreement between the Taliban and U.S. has been finalized and the signing of the agreement is based on the reduction in violence over seven days and then it will continue. It is also an opportunity for the opposite side to show that they want peace in the country."
Terms of the deal
The deal, as in the October agreement, will no doubt see that US commit to a withdrawal from Afghanistan and after the agreement, negotiations between the Taliban and members of the Afghan government but not in their official capacity.. The Taliban refuse to negotiate directly with the Afghan government as they consider it a puppet of the US. The Taliban would commit to fight al-Qaeda and ISIS and keep them from establishing themselves in Afghanistan.
Deal would end a 19-year US conflict in Afghanistan
Trump has often expressed a desire that US troops no longer be involved in wars that he has sometimes described as useless. Trump could welcome the deal although he rejected an earlier deal after the Taliban launched attacks and killed a US soldier. However, there was no cease fire at the time and both sides continued attacks. However, this time perhaps things will not unravel as they did earlier. It may be some time before there is further agreement between the Taliban and Afghan factions associated with the government.
Reduction in violence to begin on February 22
As part of the negotiations, the Taliban and the US agreed to a reduction in violence. An anonymous Afghan official claimed that the 7 day reduction in violence would begin on February 22.