Headline : Taliban council agrees to cease-fire in Afghanistan
- The Taliban has agreed to a temporary ceasefire.
- It now provides a window during which a peace agreement with the U.S. could be signed.
U.S-Taliban talks over a peace deal
- Ending the 18-year long conflict has been considered too costly. Thus the decision to talk to the Taliban was taken during the Obama presidency.
- The Doha office (in Qatar) of the Taliban was established for negotiations.
- The Taliban have long maintained that they would negotiate only with the US not with the Afghan government. However, the US has insisted that the Afghan government should be involved in the process.
- Thus, several attempts at holding discussions to end the war not progressed.
- By the middle of 2018, the US started pushing for direct talks with the Taliban urgently (in line with President Trump’s agenda to withdraw troops from Afghanistan).
- Note: President Ashraf Ghani’s government was not included in the US-Taliban talks as this was the Taliban precondition for the talks.
- The U.S and the Taliban have held several rounds of talks since 2018 with the objective is to narrow the gap between opposing positions and hold broader, more formal negotiations to end the war.
- The draft agreement was reached after nine rounds of talks between US and the Taliban in Doha, Qatar.
- While no details of the draft agreement had been made public, the US Special Envoy had told the Afghan media organisation TOLO that the two sides had reached an agreement in principle.
About the Draft Agreement:
- The US troops were to withdraw from five bases in Afghanistan. However, no timeline was finalised for the US to pull out its 14,000 troops now in Afghanistan, but a period of 14 months had been mentioned in the past.
- In return, the Taliban committed to not allow “enemies of the US” i.e. namely Daesh/ISIS and Al Qaeda to set up base in Afghanistan and themselves would fight the enemies of America in Afghanistan.
- The Taliban were also said by some to have agreed to not attack the withdrawing American troops.
Cancellation of talks with Trump in 2019:
- Talks between the US and Talinam were proposed to be held in September, 2019.
- However, the US President Donald Trump called off the troubled U.S.-Taliban peace talks aimed at ending the 18-year conflict, after Taliban admitted to an attack in Kabul that killed one of US’ soldiers, and 11 other people.
- The Taliban has now agreed to a temporary ceasefire, providing a window during which a peace agreement with the U.S. could be signed.
- A peace deal would allow Washington to bring home its troops from Afghanistan and end its 18-year military engagement there.
- The U.S. wants any deal to include a promise from the Taliban that Afghanistan would not used as a base by terrorist groups.
- A key pillar of the agreement, which the U.S. and the Taliban have been working on for more than a year, is direct negotiations between Afghans on both sides of the conflict.
- Those intra-Afghan negotiations are expected to be held within two weeks of the signing of a U.S.-Taliban peace deal.
Section : International Relation