The US-Taliban Peace Deal will be signed on February 29, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday. Pompeo was quoted as making the date of the finalising of the deal public by Russian news agency Sputnik.
"After decades of conflict, we have come to an understanding with the Taliban on a significant reduction in violence across #Afghanistan. This is an important step on a long road to peace, and I call on all Afghans to seize this opportunity," Pompeo wrote on his Twitter feed on Friday.
After decades of conflict, we have come to an understanding with the Taliban on a significant reduction in violence across #Afghanistan. This is an important step on a long road to peace, and I call on all Afghans to seize this opportunity.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) February 21, 2020
The deal, which the Trump administration has been negotiating for long, includes talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government under President Ashraf Ghani which are to begin on 10 March.
The Afghan government had stayed away from the US-Taliban negotiations, due to strong reservations about the militant group's religious extremism and violence.
The sources said that the US, as per the treaty, has also agreed to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners between February 29 and March 10.
"That is a huge concession," sources based in Kabul said.
The Taliban, on the other hand, has consented to a week-long ceasefire when neither they nor the US troops will conduct any operations.
"Both sides have succeeded in defining what reduction of violence would entail," a source in Qatar said.
The negotiations for the peace deal, after they were resumed after four months in January this year, had been stuck over the disagreement on the definition of "reduction in violence".
The Trump administration has committed itself to withdraw all its forces from the war-torn country over a period of 18 months.
The US and NATO forces launched a war against terror in Afghanistan 18 years ago after the global Islamist terror group Al Qaeda sheltered and supported by Taliban attacked the US on September 11, 2001.
America has around 11,000 troops in Afghanistan and has been gradually withdrawing forces.
President Trump, who is running for re-election later this year, during his last election campaign promised that he will end America's wars and bring back US troops home.
(with inputs from agencies)