Focus: GS-II International Relations

Why in news?

The deal signed between the U.S. and the Taliban in Doha on 29th February 2020 sets the stage for America to wind down the longest war in its history.

The Afghan war is estimated to have cost $2-trillion, with more than 3,500 American and coalition soldiers killed. Afghanistan lost hundreds of thousands of people, both civilians and soldiers. After all these, the Taliban is at its strongest moment since the U.S. launched the war

Background about the U.S. – Taliban deal

  • The deal was signed in the Qatari capital Doha.
  •  India attended the landmark event of the long-sought peace deal as an “observer”.
  • The United States said it is committed to reducing the number of its troops to 8,600 from the current 13,000 within 135 days of signing the deal.
  • It also said it is working with allies to proportionally reduce the number of coalition forces in Afghanistan, if the Taliban were to adhere to its commitments.
  • A full withdrawal of all foreign forces would occur within 14 months of the deal getting signed if the Taliban holds up its end of the deal.
  • The agreement is expected to lead to a dialogue between the Taliban and the Kabul government that, if successful, could ultimately see an end to the grinding 18- year conflict.
  • For U.S President Donald Trump, the Doha deal represents a chance to make good on his promise to bring U.S. troops home.
  • The accord also comes amid a fragile political situation in Afghanistan.

Pitfalls of withdrawal

The fundamental issue with the U.S.’s Taliban engagement is that it deliberately excluded the Afghan government because the insurgents do not see the government as legitimate rulers.

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