Mon. Nov 30th, 2020
    The Taliban announced Friday that they will sign an agreement with the United States on February 29, after more than a year of negotiations in Qatar, information confirmed almost simultaneously by the US State Department.
    "After the long negotiations between the Islamic Emirate (as the Taliban call themselves) of Afghanistan and the United States of America, both parties have agreed to sign the agreement in the presence of international observers" on Saturday, February 29, said the insurgent formation in a release.
    Both parties will "create an adequate security situation" and invite "numerous" representatives from different countries and international organizations to sign the agreement, according to the Taliban.
    The insurgents and Washington will also move towards “the release of prisoners” and the “withdrawal of all foreign forces,” according to the statement.
    The withdrawal of US troops, which maintain between 12,000 and 13,000 troops in the country, was one of the key requests of the Taliban and also an electoral objective of the US president. The US, Donald Trump, who had promised to minimize the military presence in the Asian nation.
    The Taliban indicated that the agreement will "structure a path" for the start of intra-Afghan peace talks, seen as a key step to end two decades of war in Afghanistan.
    However, the statement does not mention the Afghan Government on any occasion and ensures that the peace talks will be "with several political parties in the country."
    The Taliban also made no reference to their commitment to reduce violence in Afghanistan for seven days, which starts at midnight on Friday, the Afghan National Security Council (NSC) announced today.
    The US Secretary of State UU., Mike Pompeo, also announced in a statement that the signing of the agreement will be on the 29th, although he stressed that it is conditioned on the "successful implementation" of the period of violence reduction.
    These seven days of reduced hostilities are seen as a test to verify if the Taliban are really committed to peace, as well as to test if the insurgent dome has authority over its soldiers deployed on the ground.
    The intra-Afghan negotiations will begin after the signing of the agreement, and "will be promoted in this fundamental step to reach a complete and permanent ceasefire," said Pompeo.
    In addition, Pompeo turned to the social network Twitter to affirm that "after decades of conflict, we have reached an understanding with the Taliban about a significant reduction in violence in Afghanistan."
    "This is an important step on the long road to peace, and I ask all Afghans to take advantage of this opportunity," said Pompeo.