American special envoy for Afghanistan and chief negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad has said in different interviews by Afghan news outlets that the deal with Afghan Taliban has almost been done. He has also for the first time shared the proposed deal with Afghan president Ashraf Ghani and chief executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah. The Afghan government is not part of these negotiations taking place in Doha for last one year. The Afghan and western media has provided some points of this agreement. Both sides expected to formally sign this agreement very soon.
The prospective deal centres on US troop reductions in return for several security guarantees from the Taliban, as well as broader peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government and an eventual ceasefire.
So far, the Afghan government has been shut out of the negotiations as the Taliban dismisses it as a “puppet” of the US, but intra-Afghan talks that include the government are meant to follow a US-Taliban deal.
In exchange for the troop withdrawal, which would amount to more than one-third of the U.S. troop presence in the country, the Taliban has agreed to cut ties with al-Qaeda and provide counterterrorism guarantees.
Here are the salient features of this proposed agreement.
1-The US will pull out 5400 troops in 135 days after signing this deal. The troops pull out is conditional and if Taliban violates the deal then this troops pull out will be suspended.
2-The US troops will vacate five out of seven military bases in Afghanistan. US will have more than 8600 troops in two military bases permanently stationed.
3- About 14,000 US troops and some 17,000 troops from 39 NATO allies and partner countries are in Afghanistan in a non-combative role. NATO troops mostly are providing training and military advice to Afghan forces.
4- The US accepted Afghan Taliban’s condition to name them as Islamic Emirate, The US will identify Taliban as the Islamic Emirate; the militant group was used to name their governing system under Taliban government from 1996 to 2001. U.S. officials have said that the name would identify the Taliban as a political party. But critics are saying that it is more than accepting Taliban as political party.
5- Taliban will not allow any activity which could be harmful for western interests in the areas under their control. Al-Qaeda and other militant groups will not allow establishing their safe sanctuaries in Afghanistan.
6- Taliban will announce ceasefire and stop attacks against foreign forces after signing the deal. It is not clear whether the ceasefire will include the Afghan forces or not. Taliban has already stepped up attacks on afghan forces.
7- Taliban will start political dialogue with Afghan government to discuss the future political set up. Taliban will be part of future political set up in Afghanistan. The political dialogue between Afghan government and Taliban will start in Norway next week.
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