United States President Donald Trump said on February 29 that the first withdrawals of the American troops from Afghanistan are starting “immediately” after the successful signing of the peace deal with Taliban. At the White House conference when Trump was asked when would the drawdown begin under the US-Taliban agreement, he reportedly told the journalists, “Like Today, OK? Today. They'll start immediately”.
The US signed a landmark deal with the Taliban on February 29 which laid out the timetable for America's full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan within the period of 14 months marking US' exit from its longest war. According to international reports, the accord is expected to lead the way for a dialogue between the Taliban and the Afghanistan government, and if it turns successful, it would end an 18-year-long conflict.
The deal was signed in a conference room of luxury Doha hotel, with Taliban fighter-turned-dealmaker, Mullah Baradar alongside Washington's chief negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad and the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo. Reportedly, as Baradar and Khalilzad finally inked the accord, the people in the room shouted, “Allahu Akbar”. Before that Pompeo had also urged the insurgents to “keep your promises to cut ties with Al-Qaeda”.
According to international reports, Trump also urged the citizens of Afghanistan to embrace the chance for a new future. He further added that if both the Taliban and Kabul's government manage to “live up to these commitments”, they will have a “powerful path" forward in order to end the war in the country and bring American troops “home”. However, Afghanistan which have been excluded from the direct US-Taliban talks remains in an unclear position while also being gripped by a fresh political crisis and contested election results.
But, the US Secretary of Defence, Mark T Esper also met with Afghanistan's re-elected President Ashraf Ghani and according to the joint statement issued, they both discussed the “progress in the peace process” after the successful implementation of the reduction in violence. Furthermore, Washington has reaffirmed its commitment with partners at Afghanistan as the conditions-based US-Taliban agreement is implemented. According to the official website, Esper and Ghani agreed that the US-Taliban peace deal marks the start of achieving a “lasting peace for Afghan people, and security and stability in Afghanistan”.