WASHINGTON – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed a peace deal signed between the U.S. and Taliban on Saturday that seeks to achieve a lasting solution to the Afghan war.
Two landmark conferences in the Qatari capital of Doha and Kabul of Afghanistan saw historic decisions made regarding the fate of war-ravaged Afghanistan. The deal lays out a timetable for a full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Guterres said those conferences “mark important developments,” according to his spokesman, Stephane Dujarric.
“The Secretary-General stresses the importance of sustaining the nationwide reduction in violence, for the benefit of all Afghans,” said Dujarric in a statement. “He encourages continued efforts by all parties to create an enabling environment for the intra-Afghan negotiations and a comprehensive peace process.”
The agreement is expected to lead to talks between the Taliban and the Kabul government in a bid to pave the way for an end to the 18-year conflict.
The UN chief expressed hope that an inclusive Afghan-led process with participation of women and youth will help Afghan people’s aspirations to be realized.
Guterres “reiterates the commitment of the United Nations to supporting the people and Government of Afghanistan,” Dujarric concluded.
Under the accord, Taliban have agreed not to allow al-Qaeda, Daesh or any other militant group to operate in the areas they control.
The U.S. and its allies, after an initial reduction of troops from roughly 13,000 to 8,600 within 135 days, will move towards a complete withdrawal within 14 months.
At the height of the war, which started weeks after the September 2001 attacks in New York, Afghanistan had more than 100,000 American troops and tens of thousands of others from the U.S.-led NATO coalition.