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Trump urges Afghans to “seize the chance for peace”

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Donald Trump urged Afghans on Friday to “seize the chance for peace” on the eve of the signing of a historic Qatar-United States-Taliban agreement to pave the way for a withdrawal of American troops after more than 18 years of war.

Once initialed, this text negotiated for a year and a half must also launch thorny inter-Afghan peace talks and allow the American president, who is already campaigning for his re-election, to boast of having held one of his promises: to end the longest conflict in the history of the United States.

“We urge the Afghans to seize the chance for peace,” said Trump.

“If the Taliban and the Afghan government manage to live up to their commitments, we will have a clear path to end the war in Afghanistan and bring our soldiers home,” he added.

Up to 30 countries are expected to be represented at the signing of the Doha deal, which will be attended by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The latter confirmed that the Taliban respected a week of “reduction of violence”, a precondition for the American negotiators, led by Zalmay Khalilzad, to sign this pact.

This week of fighting reduction, which was widely respected by all, served as a test. It is supposed to demonstrate the good will of the Taliban and, above all, their ability to control their troops on the ground.

The Afghan government will not be present at the ceremony. But he sent a six-person delegation to Doha for “initial contact” with the insurgents, spokesman for the national security council, a government agency, said on Thursday.

The Taliban, since they were ousted from power in 2001 by an international coalition led by the United States, have always refused to meet the government of Kabul, described as “puppet” of Washington.

– Divided political class –

Presented as the beginning of a new era for Afghanistan, a poor country ravaged by war for 40 years, the US-Taliban agreement suggests the end of the American intervention launched on October 7, 2001 in response to the attacks of 11 -September.

The text, which is not a peace agreement strictly speaking, aims at a gradual withdrawal of American troops in Afghanistan in exchange in particular for security guarantees and the opening of a dialogue between the insurgents and government officials, opposition and civil society.

The American troops in Afghanistan would initially pass from 12,000 or 13,000 soldiers currently to 8,600, before new progressive departures which will take place only if the Taliban respect their own commitments.

The insurgents promise in return for the departure of the Americans, whom they have long demanded, to provide security guarantees in terms of anti-terrorism, and to immediately begin unprecedented direct peace negotiations with the authorities in Kabul.

Despite criticism from some observers who believe it concedes too much for too little, the Trump administration ensures that the anti-terrorist guarantees provided by the insurgents respond to the primary reason for the American intervention, launched in retaliation for the September 11 attacks 2001 hatched by Al-Qaeda from Afghanistan then led by the Taliban.

After the signing of the US-Taliban agreement, intra-Afghan negotiations between the Taliban, the Afghan government, its opposition and civil society are to start.

These discussions, which aim to define the future of the country and in particular who will direct it and how, as well as the way in which the Taliban would be integrated into society, look much longer and more arduous than those between the insurgents and Washington.

Because against the Taliban, the Afghan political class is divided. Outgoing President Ashraf Ghani was declared the winner of the September election last week, but chief executive Abdullah Abdullah contests the results and also claims victory.

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