The US peace envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, late Saturday in a tweet said: “Today is a day for hope. After years of conflict, we have signed an agreement with the Taliban that achieves US objectives and puts Afghanistan on a path to peace.”
“History will judge Afghans by how they embrace this moment of opportunity. The mistakes of the past should be avoided and Afghans must come together and build an inclusive, united, and sovereign country,” said Khalilzad.
“There are lessons for the world as well not to abandon Afghanistan. The United States will do its part. The real celebration will be when we have achieved these goals,” Khalilzad added.
On Saturday, Khalilzad and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the co-founder of Taliban, signed the peace agreement at the Sheraton Hotel in Doha, capital of Qatar following 18 months of negotiations.
At the ceremony, foreign ministers and representatives of almost 30 countries and international organizations attended.
The agreement was signed following a successful weeklong period of a reduction in violence which was announced on February 22.
With the signing of the US-Taliban agreement, the US’s longest war may finally be nearing an end, more than 18 years since US President George W. Bush ordered the bombing of Afghanistan in response to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.
According to the agreement, the US has committed to withdraw from Afghanistan all military forces, including all non-diplomatic civilian personnel, private security contractors, trainers, advisors, and supporting services personnel within 14 months following the announcement of the agreement. Non-US NATO and other coalitions forces will also be withdrawn. But this withdrawal is conditional on the Taliban following through on their committments.
The agreement states that the United States is committed to start immediately working with all relevant sides on a plan to expeditiously release combat and political prisoners as a confidence-building measure.
The US has spent more than $750 billion in Afghanistan.
There are currently around 13,000 US troops in Afghanistan.