The US and the Taliban are set to sign a deal in Doha, the capital of Qatar today which could pave the path for ending the long-term conflict in the war-weary country.
Sources close to the Taliban told Ariana News that all preparations have been taken for the deal and it would be signed by the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo and the Taliban’s Deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.
This comes as the Afghan government sent a 6-member delegation for the primary talks with the Taliban.
The countdown for signing the US-Taliban peace agreement has already begun, and on Saturday, the US Secretary of Defense Mike Esper and the NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg are expected to visit Kabul and reiterate their commitment to Afghanistan.
The presidential palace said that the two officials will make a joint statement with President Ghani and will reaffirm NATO and the US’s commitments to Afghanistan.
Latif Mahmood, the Presidential deputy spokesperson, said, “The US Secretary of Defense and the NATO SG are supposed to visit Kabul, Saturday, and will make a joint press release.”
This comes as the Afghan government sent a 6-member delegation to Qatar for primary talks with the Taliban who are supposed to negotiate how the prisoners should be released.
The Afghan delegation is comprised of:
Salem Shah Ibrahimi, the NSC deputy, Zakia Adeli, the deputy of Ministry of Justice, Abdul Khaliq Balakarzai, the deputy of State Ministry of Peace, Faizullah Zaki, the Afghan ambassador to Indonesia, Mawlawi Muzzafari, the deputy of the Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs, Totakhail, head of the prisons,
Sami Yousufzai, a freelance journalist in Qatar, said, “The Taliban are supposed to negotiate on how to release the prisoners even though the Taliban said that the delegation had not been invited.”
The US-Taliban agreement is scheduled to be signed in one of the most luxurious hotels in Doha, in the presence of 30 countries’ representatives and the United Nation.
Shah Mahmoud Quraishi, the Pakistan Foreign Minister said, “Tomorrow is a big day for Afghanistan. It is a great opportunity. Afghanistan is moving towards peace and reconciliation.” He also said that an inclusive intra-Afghan dialogue would start. “I wish Afghanistan peace and stability,” he added.
Although no significant detail has been unleashed from the peace agreement, some sources say that following the signing of the agreement, some five thousand prisoners of the Taliban and one thousand prisoners of the Afghan government will be released – the next step will be preparing for the inter-Afghan dialogue.