US-Taliban deal: Can peace finally come to Afghanistan? | Talk to Al Jazeera

After nearly two decades of the longest-running US war – the United States and Afghanistan’s Taliban have signed an historic agreement.

With the potential to end the war in Afghanistan, the long-awaited agreement includes:

a timeline of 14 months for all US and NATO troops to withdraw
a Taliban guarantee that Afghan soil will not be used to threaten US security
and negotiations with the Afghan government by March 10; leading to a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.
Years of shuttle diplomacy were behind the signing and Qatar played a central role in the negotiations. It hosted the months-long discussions between representatives of the Taliban and US officials in its capital, Doha.

Now, with an agreement in place to stop the fighting and the impending withdrawal of foreign troops, can Afghans negotiate a deal among themselves? Can peace finally come to Afghanistan?

Mutlaq bin Majed al-Qahtani, Qatar’s special envoy for counterterrorism and mediation of conflict resolution, talks to Al Jazeera.

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Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country at the crossroads of Central and South Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan to the east and south; Iran to the west; Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan to the north; and China to the northeast.

Occupying 652,000 square kilometers (252,000 sq mi), it is a mountainous country with plains in the north and southwest. Kabul is the capital and largest city. The population is around 32 million, composed mostly of ethnic Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras, and Uzbeks.

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