[pjw] NEWS: Taliban, US sign agreement aimed at ending Afghan war | Al Jazeera 2/29

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Sat Feb 29 18:11:22 EST 2020

Hello supporters of peace and justice

I'm dubious about this agreement for the US to withdraw troops from 
Afghanistan-- not only because they allegedly withdrew once before, only 
to send in more troops (now at 14,000 or so), but also because the Afghan 
Government was not a party to these talks or the agreement.

It also could mean that a violation of the terms could be used by the US 
as an excuse to step up its military actions to the same or greater level.

That said, let's remove the "who" (wildly unpredictable President Trump) 
and look at the "what" and maybe hope somehow this could actually lead to 
an end of the occupation of Afghanistan after nearly 18-1/2 years.

dan handelman
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

Afghanistan's Taliban, US sign agreement aimed at ending war
    Agreement signed in Qatar's capital, Doha, could result in US troops
    leaving Afghanistan within 14 months.
    by [139]Shereena Qazi   29 Feb 2020 16:01 GMT

    Doha, Qatar - US officials and Taliban representatives have signed an
    agreement after months of negotiations in Qatar's capital that is aimed
    at ending the United States's longest war, fought in Afghanistan since

    Saturday's agreement, signed in Doha in the presence of leaders from
    Pakistan, Qatar, Turkey, India, Indonesia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan,
    will pave the way for the US to gradually withdraw its troops.

    The two sides have long wrangled over the US demand for a ceasefire
    before the signing of the agreement, which has four points: a timeline
    of 14 months for the withdrawal of all US and NATO troops from
    Afghanistan; a Taliban guarantee that Afghan soil will not be used as a
    launchpad that would threaten the security of the US; the launch of
    intra-Afghan negotiations by March 10; and a permanent and
    comprehensive ceasefire.

    In a statement, the Taliban said it had reached an agreement "about the
    termination of occupation of Afghanistan".

    "The accord about the complete withdrawal of all foreign forces from
    Afghanistan and never intervening in its affairs in the future is
    undoubtedly a great achievement," it added.

    Earlier on Saturday, the Taliban ordered all its fighters to halt
    fighting and "refrain from attacks".

    Mohammed Naeem, a Taliban representative in Doha, described the
    agreement as "a step forward".

    "With this deal comes the end of war in Afghanistan," he told Al

    For his part, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on the Taliban
    to honour its commitments.

    "I know there will be a temptation to declare victory, but victory for
    Afghans will only be achieved when they can live in peace and prosper,"
    he said at the Doha ceremony.

Troop withdrawal

    Minutes before the agreement was signed, a joint statement released by
    the US and the Afghan government said the US and NATO troops would
    withdraw from Afghanistan within 14 months.

    About 14,000 US troops and approximately 17,000 troops from 39 NATO
    allies and partner countries are stationed in Afghanistan in a
    non-combatant role.

    "The United States will reduce the number of US military forces in
    Afghanistan to 8,600 and implement other commitments in the US-Taliban
    agreement within 135 days of the announcement of this joint declaration
    and the US-Taliban agreement," the joint statement said.

    It added that the Afghan government will engage with the United Nations
    Security Council "to remove Taliban members from sanctions list by May

    "No agreement is perfect, and the US-Taliban deal is no exception,"
    said Robert Malley, president and CEO of the International Crisis

    "But it represents the most hopeful step to end a war that has lasted
    two decades and taken countless American and especially Afghan lives.
    It ought to be celebrated, bolstered and built upon to reach a genuine
    intra-Afghan peace."

    The talks were launched in 2018 as part of a push by US President
    Donald Trump's administration to strike a deal with the Taliban, which
    has been fighting the US-led forces in Afghanistan since it was toppled
    from power in 2001.

    The agreement also proposes an intra-Afghan dialogue with the
    government in Kabul and the release of 5,000 Taliban members from

    The Taliban has so far refused to speak to the Western-backed Afghan
    government, saying it is a "puppet regime".

    The intra-Afghan talks are to begin on March 10 but no specific details
    have been given.

    A weeklong "reduction in violence" between the Taliban, the US and
    Afghan security forces saw a sudden drop in violence and casualties
    across the country after taking effect on February 22.

    The Taliban now controls or holds influence over more Afghan territory
    than at any point since 2001 and has carried out near-daily attacks
    against military outposts throughout the country.

    The two sides were on the verge of signing a peace agreement in
    September when Trump abruptly cancelled the talks after a Taliban
    attack killed an American soldier.

    Trump has long expressed eagerness to bring US soldiers home and to end
    the country's longest war as he seeks re-election in 2020.

    More than 100,000 Afghans have been killed or wounded since 2009 when
    the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan began documenting casualties.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News

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