U.S. and the Taliban Sign Historic Agreement

The U.S. and the Taliban have signed a deal after 18 years of war in Afghanistan. It calls for the withdrawal of American and NATO military forces from the country within 14 months, NPR reported.

But caught in the middle is an Afghan population that is on edge about what that last part might look like, after a deal that excluded their government and left many critical points ambiguous. The first snags in the process were apparent less than 24 hours later, The New York Times writes.

In the agreement signed on Saturday, the United States said it would facilitate the release by March 10 of up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners held by the Afghan government and 1,000 members of the government security forces from the Taliban side.

But in a news conference on Sunday morning, the Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, pointedly said that it could not be a precondition to free up thousands of Taliban prisoners before the start of the direct talks with the insurgency.

“Our people have a consensus on peace, but they do not have a consensus on the price of peace,” Ghani said. “It should be discussed until we reach an agreement.”

But even after his pointed dismissal of a prisoner release, Ghani, like many Afghans, still voiced hope that the last week of reduced violence would turn into a nationwide cease-fire.

Across the country on Sunday, Afghans were grappling with whether the deal could actually be a first step toward lasting peace, or a plunge back into a chapter where extremists could again dominate society and governance, as happened during the Taliban’s rule in the late 1990s.

The country has been so scarred by violence — tens of thousands of Afghan civilians killed, a generation of women widowed, the security forces barely able to recruit enough to replace their losses — that even a vague prospect of peace is welcome. Nearly every one of a dozen Afghans interviewed on Sunday about the deal held out at least cautious hope that something good could come of it, the Times added.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.