Why in news?

  • The U.S. signed a deal with the Taliban on 29th February 2020 that could pave way for a full withdrawal of foreign soldiers from Afghanistan over the next 14 months.
  • This represents a step towards ending the 18-year-war in the nation.
  • Taliban leader calls it ‘day of victory’; Pompeo says victory will be achieved only when Afghans prosper
  • India welcomes the agreement.
Machine generated alternative text:Winding down war The signing on Saturday Of an agreement between the United States and the Taliban has spurred hopes that it could lead to an end to almost two decades of conflict in Afghanistan U.S. MILITARY BASES IN AFGHANISTAN •mp Marmal, Mazar-i-Sharif Shindand Air Base Camp Arena, Herat Timeline of talks September 2018: U.S. President Donald Trump appoints veteran Afghan-American diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad to negotiate with the Taliban U.S. Special epresentative Zalmay "al'lzad 2018-2019: Khalilzad engages in intermittent talks with the Taliban, mainly in Qatar where the insurgents maintain a political office sept. 9, 2019: After a particularly intense escalation in Taliban attacks, including a Kabul bombing that killed a U.S. soldier, Trump scraps talks Sept. 28: Afghan presidential elections are held but official results are not known for months Nov. 24: Trump visits U.S. troops in Afghanistan on Thanksgiving, says the Taliban want to make a deal and signals the Qatar negotiations are back on Feb. 15, 2020: Washington says a FOB* Gamberi kabul Jalalabad Airfield j Camp Dahlke Camp Chapman FOB Lightning PAKISTAN 125 miles Kandahar Airfield J Taliban-controlled Camp Shorab districts (Sep 3) AFGHANISTAN Afghan men in Jalalabad celebrating on Friday ahead Of the U.S-Taliban agreement. temporary "reduction in violence" has been agreed upon with the Taliban as a first step towards a final deal —mp Dwyer could continue to maintain military bases • Current troop level • U.S.: 12,000-14,000 • Other countries: 8.500 d) Prisoner release • Taliban has agreed to release 1,000 Afghan prisoners • In exchange, the Taliban expects the Afghan government to release their 5,000 fighters Key features of the agreement a) The deal lays the groundwork for intra-Afghan talks - negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government b) It sets out a timeline for the pullout Of thousands Of U.S. troops in exchange for guarantees from the Taliban not to allow militant groups such as al-Qaeda to operate c) However, Western powers Feb. 18: Afghanistan's Election Commission declares Ashraf Ghani the offcial winner Of September elections; his rival Abdullah Abdullah refuses to recognise the results and instead declares himself the winner Feb. 29: The U.s. and the Taliban sign a deal in Doha, Qatar Taliban top negotiator Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar Source: Graphic News, Reuters, AP

Details

  • 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.

Relation Between India and Afghanistan

Map Showing International Border Lines of India
  • Relations between the people of Afghanistan and India traces to the Indus Valley Civilisation.
  • Between the 10th century to the mid-18th century, northern India has been invaded by a number of invaders based in what today is Afghanistan. Among them were the Ghaznavids, Ghurids, Khaljis, Suris, Mughals and Durranis.
  • India shares border with Pakistan and there is the Durand Line conflict between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
  • The Republic of India was the only South Asian country to recognize the Soviet-backed Democratic Republic of Afghanistan in the 1980s, though relations were diminished during the 1990s Afghan civil war and the Taliban government.
  • The Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India Pipeline (TAPI), also known as Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline, is a natural gas pipeline being developed by the Galkynysh – TAPI Pipeline Company Limited. The pipeline will transport natural gas from the Galkynysh Gas Field in Turkmenistan through Afghanistan into Pakistan and then to India.

What is Durand Line?

  • The Durand Line is an international 2,430-kilometre border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • It was originally established in 1893 as the international border between British India and Afghanistan by Mortimer Durand, a British diplomat of the Indian Civil Service, and Abdur Rahman Khan, the Afghan Emir.
  • The Purpose was to fix the limit of their respective spheres of influence and improve diplomatic relations and trade.
  • Although the Durand Line is internationally recognized as the western border of Pakistan, it remains largely unrecognized by Afghanistan.
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