US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will attend the signing in Doha. Defence Secretary Mark Esper and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg will be in Kabul on Saturday, according to presidential spokesman Sediq Sediqqi, who said the two key officials will announce a joint declaration with President Ashraf Ghani…reports Asian Lite News
Foreign Ministers and representatives from almost 30 countries and international organisations have arrived in the Qatari capital of Doha to witness the signing of the historic US-Taliban peace deal on Saturday, which comes after 18 months of negotiations between the two sides.
While US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will attend the signing in Doha, American Defence Secretary Mark Esper and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will be in Kabul on Saturday, according to presidential spokesman Sediq Sediqqi, who said the two key officials will announce a joint declaration with President Ashraf Ghani.
Upon his arrival in Doha on Friday, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told TOLO News: “Tomorrow (Saturday) is a big day for Afghanistan and for the Afghans. It’s a great opportunity.
“Afghanistan is moving towards peace and reconciliation. So, tomorrow can set the tone for an inclusive intra-Afghan dialogue.”
Uzbekistan’s Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov said he remains optimistic about the
Afghan peace process, and that there was a need to work together to address the problems in the war-torn country, as also due to its regional importance.
“Uzbekistan is the immediate neighbour of Afghanistan and over the past many centuries, we had very close humanitarian culture, economic ties with Afghan people.
“We have to work together to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan because this is in the common interest of all people of our common region,” he told TOLO News.
Sources said that a six-member delegation from the Afghan government, entirely chosen by President Ghani, was also in Doha to meet with the Taliban right after the deal signing.
The peace deal reportedly includes a timeline for a conditions-based and phased US forces withdrawal, the commencement of intra-Afghan negotiations and the Taliban’s commitment not to assist terrorists.
In a statement released by the White House on Friday, US President Donald Trump said: “If the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan live up to these commitments, we will have a powerful path forward to end the war in Afghanistan and bring our troops home,” Xinhua news agency reported.
Trump urged the Afghan people to “seize this opportunity for peace and a new future” for their country, saying that “ultimately it will be up to the people of Afghanistan to work out their future”.
Under the deal, the 12,000-13,000 US troops currently serving in Afghanistan were reportedly slated to draw down to 8,600 within 135 days, while the ultimate exit of all American forces was still undecided.
For its part, the Taliban should stop assisting Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, reduce violence and reach a political settlement with the Afghan government and other Afghans that would end the war.
Ahead of the peace deal signing, a week-long reduction of violence in Afghanistan had started from February 22.
Peace talks between Washington and the Taliban began in 2018 but were suspended late last year following Taliban attacks on US military personnel.
The war in Afghanistan is the longest one in the US history. The death toll of US service members has surpassed 2,400 since America invaded Afghanistan in 2001.