Trump urges Afghans to ‘seize opportunity for peace’

USA – (WARSOOR) – President Donald Trump urged the Afghan people to embrace a chance for a new future Friday, one day before the signing of a historic peace deal between the United States and the Taliban in Doha.

With a one-week ceasefire set as a condition for the pact holding firm, Trump said that there is now a possibility of ending the nearly two-decade war in Afghanistan.

He announced he was sending Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to witness the signing of the treaty, and that Defense Secretary Mark Esper would separately issue a joint declaration with the Kabul government.

The commitments to be made in the Taliban agreement and the joint declaration are an “important step to a lasting peace” that could free Afghans from the threat of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State group, Trump said in a statement.

“If the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan live up to these commitments, we will have a powerful path forward to end the war in Afghanistan and bring our troops home,” he said.

Nevertheless, he added, “Ultimately it will be up to the people of Afghanistan to work out their future.”

“We, therefore, urge the Afghan people to seize this opportunity for peace and a new future for their country.”

US to reduce troops

The accord to be inked Saturday would see thousands of American troops quit Afghanistan after more than 18 years, in return for various security commitments from the Taliban and a pledge to hold talks with the government in Kabul.

In Jalalabad, people danced and released balloons and pigeons Friday to celebrate the sharp fall in violence.

Earlier in the week General Austin Scott Miller, commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, and Afghanistan’s acting Defense Minister Asadullah Khalid strolled the streets of Kabul and took selfies with citizens in a demonstration of their confidence in the ceasefire.

Source: Afp