US Defence Secretary Mark Esper, on February 29 said that while the Afghan Peace deal is a good thing, the road ahead would not be easy and would require compromise from all parties. The United States and the Taliban on February 29 signed a peace deal in Doha after months of negotiations, aimed at ending the 18-year long war in Afghanistan. Soon after the deal was signed, Esper met the Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul where they announced a joint declaration.
The statement which published on Pentagon’s official website read,
This is a hopeful moment, but it is only the beginning. The road ahead will not be easy. Achieving lasting peace in Afghanistan will require patience and compromise among all parties. But for the first time in many years, Afghanistan has a real path toward the future this country deserves.
In the statement, the Pentagon chief also called on the Taliban to abide by their commitment. He said the US will watch the Taliban’s actions closely to judge whether their efforts towards peace were in good faith. He further said that if the Taliban successfully upholds the agreement, then the US would initiate “a condition-based reduction in forces.”
However, he warned that in case, Taliban fails to honour their commitment, they would “forfeit their chance to sit with fellow Afghans and deliberate on the future of their country" before saying that the US would not hesitate to nullify the agreement. Esper concluded that the US and international partners would continue to provide Afghanistan with the necessary support. Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump, on February 29 said that he would meet Taliban leaders in ''in not so distant future.'' He added that he believed that the Taliban was ready for peace but warned the Islamist organisation that in case they fail to take hold, then the ''US will go back.''
(With inputs from agencies)