US-Taliban sign peace deal, troops to withdraw within 14 months

Updated: 01 March, 2020 07:49 IST | Agencies | Doha

His comments came as the US signed an accord with the Taliban in Doha, laying out a timetable for a full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan within 14 months as it seeks an exit from its longest-ever war

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. Pic/AFP
US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. Pic/AFP

The United States "will not hesitate to nullify" its historic deal with the Taliban if the insurgents renege on their security guarantees and commitment to hold talks with the Afghan government, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Saturday.

His comments came as the US signed an accord with the Taliban in Doha, laying out a timetable for a full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan within 14 months as it seeks an exit from its longest-ever war.

But on a visit to Kabul, Esper warned that "should the Taliban fail to honour their commitments they will forfeit their chance to sit with fellow Afghans and deliberate on the future of their country."

"Moreover, the United States would not hesitate to nullify the agreement," he added."The coalition will complete the withdrawal of their remaining forces from Afghanistan within 14 months following the announcement of this joint declaration and the US-Taliban agreement... subject to the Taliban's fulfilment of its commitments," the statement released by the US and Afghan governments said.

More than 20 lawmakers recently wrote a letter to Pompeo and Esper asking for assurances that the US-Taliban agreement will not jeopardise US security. The US invaded the country weeks after the September 2001 attacks by al-Qaeda group.About 12,000 are still stationed in the country.

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First Published: 01 March, 2020 07:10 IST

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