US, Taliban Sign Peace Agreement

The United States and the Taliban movement signed the long-awaited peace agreement in the Qatari capital of Doha on Saturday, which includes US withdrawal from the country after 19 years.

US State Secretary Mike Pompeo enumerated key conditions of the deal between the United States and the Taliban, RIA Novosti reported.

"Keep your promises, cut ties with Al-Qaeda. Keep up the fight against Daesh (also known as ISIL or ISIS)," Pompeo said, addressing the Taliban.

He added that the agreement was "a true test", stressing that Washington will calibrate the pace of the troop withdrawal with the actions of the Taliban.

The US and the Afghan government previously released a joint statement ahead of the US accord with the Taliban, in which Washington committed to pull out US and NATO military personnel from the Central Asian country within fourteen months.

"Consistent with the joint assessment and determination between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the United States, its allies, and the Coalition will complete the withdrawal of their remaining forces from Afghanistan within 14 months following the announcement of this joint declaration and the US-Taliban agreement," the text read.

According to the declaration, the US will slash the number of its troops in the country to 8,600 within 135 days after the agreement with the Taliban takes effect.

Washington also pledged to refrain from the use of force to preserve the territorial integrity of Afghanistan and committed itself to not intervening in the country's domestic affairs.

Kabul, in turn, pledged to engage the UN Security Council to have the Taliban removed from its sanctions list by 29 May.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said that the alliance supports the signing of the US-Taliban peace deal.

"This [deal] is a victory for peace, victory for Afghan people," Stoltenberg added.

Since 2018, Washington and the Taliban have been attempting to negotiate a peace deal that would ensure the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan in exchange for the movement's guarantee that the country would not become a safe haven for terrorists. The parties' representatives have been regularly meeting in Doha to address the issue.

The agreement was signed by US Peace Envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad and one of the Taliban's senior leaders, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, according to RT.

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