There are plenty of Afghans who want this deal to work as well…
By Jon Dougherty
(TNS) It took longer than he would have liked, but President Donald Trump is making good on another campaign pledge: To end the longest-running U.S. war in American history.
American and Taliban negotiators signed a deal on Saturday that reportedly will also pave the way for various Afghan factions to come together to end nearly two decades of fighting.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and top Taliban leaders gathered at a hotel in Doha, Qatar, to sign the agreement, which will lead to the beginning of a total U.S. troupe withdrawal over the course of 14 months in exchange for a promise that Taliban leaders will work with others to forge a political deal to govern the country and prevent it from becoming a terrorist haven.
Reports said that Pompeo did not clap with the others “when Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar delivered a short speech pledging to honor it,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
The paper added:
As the agreement was signed by the Taliban leader and Mr. Khalilzad, members of the Taliban delegation cheered, shouting “Allahu akbar”—”God is Great”—as diplomats from around the world looked on.
While the deal will begin the process of withdrawing American forces from the war-torn country, it also calls for a more challenging measure — that talks begin between the Taliban and various other factions designed to form a cohesive government.
Some worry those talks could fall apart before they really even begin.
In practice, however, the deal will see the quick reduction of American troops from about 13,000 now to 8,600, or the level when President Trump took office in January 2017:
As for Pompeo, neither he nor the president are under any illusions that the road ahead will be easy.
“This agreement will mean nothing—and today’s good feelings will not last—if we don’t take concrete action on commitments stated and promises made,” he said.
Saad Mohseni, who returned to Afghanistan in 2001 to launch the country’s most successful private media company, echoed that sentiment and sounded a huge note of caution designed to temper expectations.
For his part, President Trump remained optimistic.
“If the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan live up to these commitments, we will have a powerful path forward to end the war in Afghanistan and bring our troops home,” he said in a statement. “Ultimately it will be up to the people of Afghanistan to work out their future.”
At one point early in the Obama administration, the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan surged to more than 100,000.
This article originally appeared at The National Sentinel and was republished with permission.
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