US President Donald Trump said that he would himself meet the leaders of the Taliban in the "not too distant future" and asserted that the 'war against terrorism' should be fought by regional players. The Taliban and Washington on February 29, signed the historic Afghan peace deal, which conditionally foresees the withdrawal of US troops from the region. Hours after the peace deal to put the 18-year-old US war in Afghanistan to an end, Donald Trump said that he would 'personally meet' with the Taliban leaders. Further stating that he 'hoped' that the Taliban would fight terrorists, including ISIS and break ties with Al Qaeda, that previously took refuge in the country.
The US President said, "I'd like to congratulate all of those people who have worked for so long on the endless war in Afghanistan. There has not been a moment like this. We have had successful negotiations. Everybody is tired of war. I'll be personally meeting Taliban leaders in the not-too-distant future. We will be very much hoping that they will be doing what they say they are going to be doing, they will be killing terrorists."
Donald Trump had stirred a storm in September last year after he canceled a secret weekend meeting at Camp David with the Taliban and Afghanistan leaders. Trump received immense flak for planning a 'secret meeting', as it would mean the US president was ready to host members of the Taliban at the presidential retreat in Maryland. It came mere days prior to the 9/11 anniversary.
In a historic move, US peace envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad and senior Taliban leaders Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar signed the deal in Qatar's Doha on Saturday. Mullah Baradar was released from a Pakistani prison in October 2018, after he was arrested in Karachi in 2010. Two unnamed Pakistani intelligence officials also confirmed that Mullah Baradar was freed "after high-level negotiations," AP reported.
The US military, as per the deal agreement, will leave Afghanistan within the next 14 months, if the Taliban upholds its commitments that the Afghan territory will not be used for terror activities to target the US and its allies. The deal lays the groundwork for negotiations between the democratic government in Kabul and the armed group Taliban. The US has even agreed to lift sanctions against Taliban leaders by August. Washington and Kabul further agreed with the Taliban to exchange prisoners of war by March 10.
Diplomats from the Afghanistan, United States, India, Pakistan and other members of the United Nations gathered alongside the Taliban representatives in Doha's Sheraton Hotel on Saturday. The US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 after the 9/11 terror attack, wherein the Taliban was accused of harbouring Al Qaeda leaders.