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A M Reid
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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After nearly 20 years of conflict, the United States and the Taliban have signed a peace agreement which could bring a stop to one of the longest ongoing wars in the world, and could result in American soldiers departing Afghanistan within 14 months. This deal took place after temporary ceasefire between the Trump administration and the Taliban had been upheld.
In the signed deal, the Taliban have agreed to cut associations with extremist groups like al-Qaeda and also to engage in talks with the Afghanistan government. On the other side of the deal, the United States has agreed to slowly withdraw troops.
So far, more than 2,400 US troops have been killed in action, and over 12,000 are still currently in Afghanistan. The conflict with Afghanistan began in 2001 as a response to the September 11, 2001, attacks.
Today on the CNN program State of the Union, host Jake Tapper questioned Vice President Mike Pence on concerns if the Taliban would truly uphold their agreement, particularly with how the deal, while says they cannot assist al-Qaeda, does not ask them to renounce them.
“The agreement signed today represents a historic step forward on the path of peace and we remain hopeful that it will hold,” Pence said. “Now that being said, the president said if the Taliban continues to keep their word and we just went through seven days where we saw a dramatic reduction of violence, a violence against American forces in Afghanistan and innocent civilian, if that continues to hold the presidents made it clear that we are going to be able to reduce forces in the region, it is the first time ever they have been willing to commit publicly to oppose the presence of al-Qaeda in the region, first time they have ever spoken out against the terrorist elements.”
He continued, “President Ghani and the Afghanistan government signed the agreement today, the Taliban signed the agreement, they have made a commitment to oppose the presence of terrorist elements — and terrorist organisations using Afghanistan to launch attacks around the world including against us.”
However, there still remains doubts. Last time peace talks were underway between the US and the Taliban, a Taliban attack occurred in Afghanistan which killed a US soldier.
Even more, cracks are already beginning to show in the deal. While Donald Trump has stated that the Afghan government would release 5,000 Taliban prisoners to enable talks of peace between them and the Taliban, President Ghani has denied this, telling reports in Kabul: “The government of Afghanistan has made no commitment to free 5,000 Taliban prisoners.”
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