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US, Taliban to announce peace deal as President Trump seeks exit in Afghanistan


US, Taliban to announce peace deal as President Trump seeks exit in Afghanistan

Photo: Reuters

There is speculation that the US could unveil its long-negotiated peace deal with the Taliban to correspond with today’s milestone. Under the agreement, the US will immediately withdraw around 5,000 of its 14,000 troops in the country, with the remainder to leave over the next 18 months. For its part, the Taliban will renounce its ties to al-Qaeda and prevent extremist groups from operating in areas under its control.

Still, the agreement is far from comprehensive. Primarily, the deal is vague on intra-Afghan peace dialogue and fails to agree a ceasefire between the Taliban and Afghan security forces. In theory, this means the Taliban can continue its attacks on civilians and government forces, even as the US withdraws its troops.

To counter this, Washington has stressed that its full withdrawal is conditional on a ceasefire agreement and the start of talks between the Taliban and Afghan government. However, the immediate withdrawal of 5,000 troops will weaken its position on the ground. The Taliban is also likely aware that the Trump administration sees a full withdrawal from Afghanistan as a major boon to its campaign ahead of next year’s election.

With such difficulties, peace in Afghanistan likely remains some way off despite the impending US-Taliban agreement.

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