Donald Trump on Tuesday became the first President of the United States to talk to the leader of the Taliban after the 2001 September 11 attack. According to reports, Donald Trump had a telephonic conversation with the Taliban leader Hibatullah Akhundzada, whose name he did not reveal while talking to the press. Trump while talking to reporters said that he had a 'good talk with the leader of the Taliban'.
Trump's 'good talk' with the Taliban leader came just days after the United States and the Taliban signed a peace deal in Doha that would supposedly see an end to the 18-year-war in Afghanistan. Trump further said that the Taliban is dealing with Afghanistan, referring to the next step in the peace process that requires Afghan govt and the Taliban to decide on the power equation in the country.
The United States and the Taliban signed the peace deal after 18 months of negotiations. 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 their land will not be used as a launchpad that would threaten the security of the United States and its allies.
The deal faced obstacle after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani while talking to the press the other day, 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. The deal requires the Afghan government to release around 5,000 Taliban prisoners in exchange for 1,000 Afghan security personnel by March 10.
After Ashraf Ghani's comment, the Taliban spokesperson attacked the Afghan forces in public and said that the Taliban will continue their operations against Afghan government forces if the prisoners' swap doesn't happen. The deal was signed by US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar with Mike Pompeo as a witness. As per reports, more than 1,00,000 Afghan citizens have lost their lives or wounded since 2009 when the UN Assistance Mission began documenting casualties.