NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will speak at a press conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul, Afghanistan, on 29 February 2020. Abdullah`s appointment as head of reconciliation efforts followed a power-sharing agreement he signed in May with Ghani to end the political deadlock after last year`s elections – a vote abdullah also declared the winner. The Afghan government has expressed its readiness to participate in intra-Afghan negotiations, provided the Taliban respects the terms of the agreement between the United States and the Taliban, and has committed to discussing the release of the prisoners. With the United States, the Afghan government has also agreed to begin reviewing its sanctions against the Taliban after intra-Afghan negotiations begin. For its part, the United States reaffirmed its determination to obtain approval by the United Nations Security Council for future agreements, to cooperate with the Afghan government in reconstruction efforts and to refrain from intervening in Afghanistan`s internal affairs. Afghanistan`s stability is intrinsically linked to regional stability and security. Destabilizing trends in neighbouring countries and their possible flooding to Afghanistan would likely jeopardize progress in the peace process. The Prevention Centre provided an accessible overview of peace negotiations in Afghanistan, including the U.S.-Taliban agreement, the joint statement of the U.S. government and the Afghan government, and the ongoing internal process. Peace agreements generally have implementation mechanisms that make each party accountable for its commitments.
This is not the case with the Taliban agreement. It contains no provision on what will happen if the Taliban break their promises, with the exception of the United States, which stops its withdrawal. The Qataris, who are hosting peace talks in Afghanistan, do not have the official power to push the parties to comply. In the meantime, the United States would only be allowed to conduct airstrikes at a certain distance from active battlefields, not To Taliban fighters resting in camps or villages. This allowed the Taliban to intensify attacks on Afghan forces occupying more remote checkpoints. The agreement is part of more than 18 months of peace talks – and nine rounds – involving Khalilzad, Taliban representatives, Afghan government delegations and many other special representatives or envoys from neighbouring or regional countries and international organizations. The signing of the agreement was preceded by a seven-day reduction in the violence agreement, seen as a test of the Taliban`s ability to control their armed forces. Qatar`s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister meets with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the sidelines of a signing ceremony between the United States and the Taliban delegation on February 29, 2020 in Doha, Qatar.