United States President Donald Trump on February 13 reportedly said that he thinks that there is a good chance that the US will reach a peace deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan. According to international media reports, it is also speculated that the US-Taliban deal will be signed on February 29 which will put an end to the 19-year-old war. After the deal signing, the US troops are further expected to pull out of the South East Asian country within 18 months, that is till August 2021.
The US secured a seven-day reduction in violence in Afghanistan that it hopes that it will allow it to strike a deal with the Taliban, as President Donald Trump said a peace accord was "very close."
The talks between Taliban-US were reportedly resumed in Qatar in December 2019 and three months after Trump abruptly halted the diplomatic efforts and called it 'dead'. However, the peace deal is also expected to focus on the 'reduction of violence' through a ceasefire and intra-Afghan negotiations. The deal would further call for the Taliban and US to refrain from conducting attacks or combat operations for seven days.
The US President Donald Trump had confirmed the resumption of talks, however, had refused to give a timeline for the drawdown of US troops. "Yes," Trump told a group of reporters at the Bagram Air Field on November 29. according to reports, other conditions in the deal would also include a Taliban pledge not to associate with al-Qaida, the Islamic State group or other militant groups.
The Taliban, who ruled Afghanistan with a harsh version of Islamic law from 1996 to 2001 and hosted al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, reportedly said that they no longer seek a monopoly on power, however, the militant group still controls or holds sway over roughly half of the country. There are also fears that a full withdrawal of some 20,000 NATO troops, including about 12,000 U.S. forces, would leave the Afghan government vulnerable, or unleash another round of fighting in a war that has reportedly killed tens of thousands of Afghans and also claimed the lives of 2,400 U.S. servicemen and women.
Afghan civilians have paid the heaviest price. The United Nations says that between 2009, when it first began documenting civilian casualties, and October 2019, approximately 34,677 Afghan civilians were killed, either in insurgent attacks or they were caught in the crossfire of battles between militants and Afghan security forces and their U.S.-led coalition allies.