US President Donald Trump on Sunday called his Afghan counterpart Ashraf Ghani after a landmark deal between Washington and Taliban was signed in Doha late on February 29. Ashraf Ghani took to his official twitter handle where he said that he received a phone call from Donald Trump over the historical developments that took place on Saturday in Doha. Ghani also said that President Trump has expressed his confidence in the Afghan government's leadership and state capacity to lead the next steps in the peace process.
I received a phone call from Pres @realDonaldTrump today, congratulating me on yesterday’s important developments with regards to the evolving peace process. POTUS expressed his confidence in the Afghan government’s leadership and state capacity to lead the next steps in process.— Ashraf Ghani (@ashrafghani) March 1, 2020
The United States and the Taliban signed the peace deal after 18 months of negotiations and 20 years of war. The deal which was signed in the presence of leaders from Pakistan, Qatar, Turkey, India, Indonesia, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan would see the withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan under a timeline of 14 months. The deal also requires Afghanistan to guarantee that Afghan soil would not be used as a launchpad that would threaten the security of the United States and its allies.
However, the deal is already facing an obstacle as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani while talking to the press, objected to certain arrangements that would see a prisoner swap between the Afghanistan government and the Taliban in order to start direct talks between the two important stakeholders of the country. According to reports, the deal would require the Afghan government to release around 5,000 Taliban prisoners in exchange for 1,000 Afghan security personnel by March 10. Ghani on Sunday objected to the arrangements within the deal as he said that the government has made no commitment to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners.
The United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 following the September 11 attacks that killed over 2,000 American citizens. Currently, there are 14,000 foreign troops stationed in the war-torn country, most of whom are US soldiers. More than 1,00,000 Afghan citizens have lost their lives or wounded since 2009 when the UN Assistance Mission began documenting casualties. The deal which was signed by US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar with Mike Pompeo as a witness, could end an era of war in Afghanistan and bring prosperity to the country.
Lead Image Credit: AP