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U.S. STRIKES A DEAL WITH TALIBAN TO END 18-YEAR-LONG AFGHAN WAR

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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