The Taliban’s political chief has met with senior diplomats from countries including Russia, Indonesia and Norway, hours after signing a deal with US aimed at ending the Afghan war.
In the run-up to the event, the Taliban, the US and Afghan forces agreed to a partial week-long truce that entered its ninth day on Sunday.
According to Reuters quoting Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid, Taliban’s political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar met foreign ministers from Turkey, Uzbekistan and Norway in Doha along with diplomats from Russia, Indonesia and neighboring nations, a move that signaled the group’s determination to secure international legitimacy.
“The dignitaries who met Mullah Baradar expressed their commitments towards Afghanistan’s reconstruction and development… the US-Taliban agreement is historical,” said Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid.
“Baradar received congratulatory messages and thanked them (ministers and diplomats) for attending the ceremony,” he said, according to the report.
On Tuesday, Trump told reporters in the New Delhi that he was ready to sign a peace deal with the Taliban if a temporary truce held. He said that the US and Taliban were “pretty close” to signing the deal.
In the agreement, the United States said it is committed to reducing the number of its troops in Afghanistan to 8,600 — from the current 13,000 — within 135 days of signing the deal, and working with its allies to proportionally reduce the number of coalition forces in Afghanistan over that period, if the Taliban adhere to their security guarantees and ceasefire.
A full withdrawal of all US and coalition forces would occur within 14 months of the deal getting signed, if the Taliban hold up their end of the deal, the joint statement said.
Prior to the signing ceremony, the Taliban had ordered all its fighters in Afghanistan to refrain from violence against civilians, Afghan and western forces.
The US invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 and overthrew a Taliban regime in power at the time, leaving the US forces stuck there ever since. The Afghan war has been a stalemate for over 18 years now.