Peace is set to return to Afghanistan after 18 years of fighting. This is the assurance the world gets after the United States and the Taliban concluded a peace deal in Doha, the capital of Qatar. Under the agreement, America will withdraw all of its troops from the country. The deal came about after a meeting between US secretary of state Mike Pompeo and a 31-strong Taliban delegation in Doha. Pompeo described it as "a momentous day." He also indicated certain actions that the Taliban should take to ensure success.

The deal assigns a timeframe of 14 months for the complete withdrawal of US and NATO troops. The US agreed to avoid the use of force against Afghanistan and not interfere in its domestic affairs. It will also allocate funds to train, advise and equip Afghan security forces. The US secretary of state explains that the US would monitor the compliance of the Taliban’s part of the deal. Withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan will depend on the response of the Taliban. He added that there is a downtrend in the level of violence in the country in the recent past, which is a positive sign.

Sky News quotes US President Donald Trump as saying he believes the Afghan peace talks will "be successful in the end." He also dropped hints about a possible meeting with leaders of the Taliban.

Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani spoke at a ceremony in Kabul. He said - "All the people of Afghanistan are looking forward to a permanent peace."

The 18-year war in Afghanistan

It all began with the airstrike on the World Trade Center in New York on 11 September 2001 that killed thousands of innocents. The then-President George W Bush ordered the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in response to the attack.

It led to the defeat of the Taliban after which Osama bin Laden along with senior al Qaeda militants escaped into neighboring Pakistan.

Sky News adds the war left casualties on both sides and there appeared to be no solution in sight. The confrontation went on for years and the US tried to establish a stable, functioning state in Afghanistan. However, the Taliban kept an upper hand and at present controls more than half the country, which is believed to be one of the least developed countries in the world.

US President Donald Trump has always talked of bringing America out of its "endless wars" in the Middle East. In that context, the deal with the Taliban means a shot in the arm for him as he seeks another term in the White House.

Deal on Afghanistan a major milestone

According to The BBC, the deal struck by the US and the Taliban in Doha is an "agreement for bringing peace" to the country after more than 18 years of conflict. It means all foreign troops will have to move out within 14 months, provided the Taliban upholds its side of the deal. It will have to ensure that al-Qaeda or any other extremist group does not operate in the areas controlled by them.

There are about 12,000 US troops still stationed in Afghanistan. The reduction of troops will be time-bound. The deal envisages the reduction of US forces to 8600 within the first 135 days of the deal. There is also a provision of a prisoner swap, which is also time-bound. In the words of President Donald Trump: "It's time after all these years to bring our people back home." Talks are yet to happen between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

End of unrest in Afghanistan

America has always been worried about Afghanistan and the militancy that has taken thousands of lives of not only military personnel but also of innocent civilians.

Suicide bombers have killed unsuspecting people in Afghanistan. The long-drawn-out battle between the US and the Taliban could soon be history. Both sides have signed a peace deal in Doha and foreign troops present there have to leave within 14 months. The Americans have agreed, provided the Taliban follows its commitments of ensuring an end to militant activities by the al-Qaeda or other similar groups.

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