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How US and Taliban sign peace agreement

American Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a co-founder of the Taliban movement  and the head of its Qatar-based office, signed a peace deal between the United States and Taliban in Qatar’s capital Doha on Saturday, according to media sources.

 Khalilzad and Baradar shook hands immediately after the signing ceremony. Under the terms of the agreement, Washington, its allies and the coalition commit to reducing their troop levels to 8,600 in the next 135 days and to withdrawing their forces from five military bases.

Apart from that, Washington and its allies commit to pulling the rest of their forces from Afghanistan provided that the Taliban meets their commitments.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged the Taliban at the signing ceremony in Doha to keep their word and to sever ties with al-Qaeda and other terrorists.

Speaking at a news conference in the Qatari capital Saturday, Pompeo said this is a hopeful moment, but it's only the beginning.  "There's a great deal of hard work ahead on the diplomatic front."

The Taliban "will start intra-Afghan negotiations with Afghan sides on March 10, 2020," according to the text of the agreement.

The agreement lays out a 14-month timetable for the withdrawal of "all military forces of the United States, its allies, and Coalition partners, including all non-diplomatic civilian personnel, private security contractors, trainers, advisors, and supporting services personnel."

The peace deal has been worked out by the US special representative and the Taliban over months of negotiation in Doha since October 2018.

Washington will also ask the United Nations Security Council to recognize and endorse its agreement.

U.S President Donald Trump on Saturday told reporters at a White House news conference in Washington that he would be "meeting personally with Taliban leaders in the not too distant future" following the signing of the agreement. 

Taliban leaders and Trump could meet as early as next week, according to a CNN reports, citing  a source close to the Taliban with knowledge of US-Taliban talks.

The source said the talks could take place in the US.

Trump said: "We'll be very much hoping that they will be doing what they say they're going to be doing" under the agreement, Trump said at the briefing.

"Everybody wanted this to happen," Trump added.
American President said he wanted congratulate those US officials involved in the agreement as well as his Afghanistan counterpart.

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