A peace deal in Doha after 18 years of war in Afghanistan

The United States and the Afghan Taliban are expected to ink a historic peace agreement today in Doha that could possibly see America end its longest war ever. Today’s peace agreement will be followed by resolution of more serious challenges; how to move forward in Afghanistan after the US withdraws from the country.

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The accord to end war is expected to be signed at 5:45pm Pakistan Standard Time. This will be followed by a press conference by Secretary of State the United States Mike Pompeo at 6:30pm

The signing ceremony will be attended by Afghan Taliban, Afghan government officials and leaders from US, Qatar and Pakistan. Islamabad on Friday confirmed that Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will attend signing of US-Taliban peace deal in Doha. A few days ago Pompeo had stated that the intra-Afghan negotiations would begin after the agreement that would ultimately result in US troops pulling out of the country and a permanent ceasefire.

US still faces Afghan risks

The United States is optimistic about reaching a peace accord with the Taliban, but it still faces security challenges and the risk of militant threats based in Afghanistan, analysts say. From the withdrawal of US troops to the disarming of insurgents, the path to peace after more than 18 years of war is strewn with difficulties.

The Taliban controlled the country when Al-Qaeda, based in the southern city of Kandahar, attacked the United States on September 11, 2001. Another major attack on US interests by militants based in Afghanistan would be a major blow to US efforts to present its longest war as an overall victory.

Read more: US hopeful for Afghan Taliban peace process

The goal is to avoid making the remaining US military personnel a target for the Taliban or jihadists from Al-Qaeda or the Islamic State group, according to the military sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

But the situation could unravel if US forces withdraw before a political accord between the Taliban and the Afghan government is in place, warned Carter Malkasian, a former adviser to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Moreover, there is always “the potential for spoilers on the Taliban side,” she said. The Soviet Union’s humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989 after 10 years of war underlines the historical dangers for the United States.

A further present-day complication is that the Afghan administration is in disarray, with President Ashraf Ghani declaring himself the winner of a new term in elections but his chief rival rejecting the results and vowing to form his own government.

The biggest challenge will be reintegrating Taliban fighters, many of whom have only ever known war, into Afghan society.

The peace deal is expected to bring peace in Afghanistan and n the region alike.


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