A peace agreement between the United States and the Taliban: decades of grudges are expected to end?

 A peace agreement between the United States and the Taliban: decades of grudges are expected to end?

Beijing, March 1 - on February 29, the United States and the Afghan Taliban signed a peace agreement in Doha, the capital of Qatar, aimed at ending the war in Afghanistan.

Under the agreement, the United States will begin to gradually reduce its presence in Afghanistan, where foreign troops are expected to withdraw completely within 14 months. The Taliban promised not to let Afghanistan become a safe haven for terrorists. The future of Afghanistan will continue to be negotiated by the Taliban and the Kabul government.

The war in Afghanistan has lasted for more than 18 years, but the United States has failed to eliminate the Taliban forces, and now has to hold peace talks with it. Where did the war start? What was the grudge between the two sides?

Infographic: in recent years, there have been frequent incidents of violence in Afghanistan.

[US Soviet rivalry, Taliban rise in Afghanistan

During the cold war, the United States attempted to enter Central Asia, establish military bases and deploy troops in and around Central Asia in the name of counter-terrorism. When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, the United States supported the local rebels and fought for ten years.

The Soviet army withdrew in 1989, and the najibura regime supported by the Soviet Union collapsed in 1992. Subsequently, the major forces in Afghanistan launched a fierce competition, resulting in more than 100000 deaths in just two years. In 1994, the fundamentalist Taliban gradually grew.

In 1996, Omar, the founder and supreme leader of the Taliban armed group, took control of the Afghan regime and introduced strict Islamic law throughout the country. Al Qaeda also originated in Afghanistan. Due to the similar political demands and close relations between the two sides, the organization has been sheltered by the Taliban and developed rapidly.

On September 11, 2001, the United States suffered a series of terrorist attacks, which killed nearly 3000 people, including two buildings of the world trade center in New York, which were hit by hijacked airliners and suffered heavy losses.

Soon, the United States confirmed that Al Qaeda, led by bin Laden, was behind the attack. At that time, bin Laden was hiding in Taliban controlled Afghanistan, so the United States asked the Taliban to hand him over, but was refused.

Infographic: Mullah Omar, founder and former top leader of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

[after the September 11th attacks, the anti-terrorism smoke remained for 18 years

In October 2001, the United States began bombing Afghanistan. In November, the anti Taliban Northern Alliance in Afghanistan controlled the capital Kabul with the help of the United States and multinational forces, and the Taliban were soon expelled from the capital. In 2004, Afghanistan held its first democratic election, and the new Afghan government supported by the United States was officially established.

However, the Taliban did not disappear, but gradually recovered and increased the infiltration of the social grassroots. After the war, the situation in Afghanistan continued to be volatile, and the government was restricted by many conditions, while other countries had concerns about the long-term presence in Afghanistan. As a result, the Taliban, though on the defensive, are gradually rallying.

Ten years after the US launched the war, bin Laden was finally killed in Pakistan in 2011. In 2014, NATOs international forces ended their combat mission, allowing Afghan government forces to continue fighting with the Taliban.

However, the situation in Afghanistan is still chaotic, and the withdrawal of international forces has given the Taliban more opportunities. In 2019, the Associated Press reported that Taliban forces reached the strongest stage since the war in Afghanistan in 2001, and they controlled nearly half of Afghanistans territory. Moreover, the Taliban are still carrying out bomb attacks against government and civilian targets.

Infographic: Taliban often attack government and civilian targets.

[multiple rounds of peace talks and twists and turns on the road to peace

Afghanistan experienced three American presidents before and after the war. During the campaign, current president trump advocated that the United States should end the overseas war as soon as possible. However, after taking office, he increased his troops to Afghanistan in August 2017. He claims to have reluctantly approved the strategy without following intuition..

At the end of 2018, representatives of the United States and the Taliban began to hold peace talks. After a long and complex game, in early September 2019, the US chief negotiator Khalilzad disclosed that the US and Tajikistan have reached an agreement on a peace agreement in principle.

However, on September 7, President trump abruptly cancelled the secret meeting that was scheduled to be held at Camp David, Maryland, with the main head of the Taliban, Afghan President Ghani, respectively, on September 8. The US side announced that peace talks are dead and unilaterally suspended the negotiations.

Three months later, peace talks between the two sides were back on the road. On November 28, trump paid a surprise visit to Afghanistan, expressed sympathy to the US military in Afghanistan and held a meeting with Afghan President Ghani. Trump said after the meeting that the US side has resumed dialogue with the Taliban.

In February 2020, important progress was made in the negotiations. The two sides reached a temporary ceasefire agreement. Seven days after the ceasefire was maintained, the United States and the Taliban finally took up the pen of signing a peace agreement.

President trump said, we want a peace agreement. The Taliban want a peace deal, too. Theyre tired of fighting. Photo by Chen Meng, reporter of China News Agency

[huge cost: trillions of expenses, tens of thousands of deaths

The war in Afghanistan, which lasted for many years, was costly. Nearly 3500 NATO troops were killed in the Afghan war, including more than 2300 US soldiers. According to the Watson International Research Center at Brown University, 42000 Taliban soldiers were killed.

In addition to the heavy casualties, the new york times calculated that the total cost of the war was more than $2 trillion. Part of the overhead is as follows:

US $1.5 trillion to wage war, most of it for training, fuel, armoured vehicles and facilities; US $87 billion for training to support the Afghan army and police force in terms of equipment, training and funding; and US $30 billion for other reconstruction projects. But the survey found that some of the money was wasted because of corrupt and failed projects..

This war has become a wound that is hard to heal that has consumed the national strength of the United States.

At the same time, the war also brought heavy suffering to the local area. In January 2019, Afghan President Ghani said 45000 members of the security forces had been killed since 2014. A February 2019 UN report said more than 32000 civilians died.

In Afghanistan, few civilians can escape the impact of the current violence, said Tadao Yamamoto, head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan Now the war will come to an end, but the prospect of peace talks in Afghanistan is uncertain, and when the people can get rid of the shadow of violence is still unknown.

Infographic: the Afghan parliament building was attacked by explosives fired by Taliban militants.

Major events of the war in Afghanistan

On October 7, 2001, because the Taliban regime refused to hand over bin Laden, the United States began to bomb Taliban targets and Al Qaeda networks in Afghanistan.

On November 13, 2001, the Taliban was expelled from Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, and retreated to Kandahar province in the south. On December 7, the Taliban gave up its last stronghold in Kandahar, and two days later, it gave up its last hold in Zabul province, completely losing its control in Afghanistan.

In 2002, the U.S. - backed interim government of Afghanistan was established.

In January 2004, Afghanistan adopted a new constitution. In October, a presidential election was held, with more than 10.5 million eligible voters electing the new President Karzai. Karzai, who was the leader of the interim government, won 55% of the votes.

In 2009, President Barack Obama announced a new strategy for the war in Afghanistan, sending more military and civilian trainers to Afghanistan.

On May 2, 2011, US forces attacked a building in Abbottabad, Pakistan, killing bin Laden.

In June 2011, Obama announced his plan to withdraw 10000 troops by the end of 2011, and until 2014, he completely handed over the responsibility of security to the Afghan government.

In 2013, Afghan government forces took over all military and security tasks from NATO forces.

In September 2014, Ghani was elected the new president of Afghanistan by two rounds of voting.

In December 2014, NATO officially terminated its combat mission in Afghanistan.

In October 2015, Obama overturned the original goal of complete withdrawal in 2016 on the ground that the situation in Afghanistan is still unstable, and continued to maintain about 9800 U.S. troops to help fight the Taliban locally.

From October 2018, representatives of the United States and the Taliban began to hold peace talks in Qatar.

In September 2019, U.S. President trump cancelled his scheduled secret meeting with the Afghan President and Taliban leaders on the grounds that the U.S. Army was attacked and killed by the Taliban in Kabul.

On February 29, 2020, the United States and the Taliban signed an agreement in Doha, the capital of Qatar. The United States and its NATO allies agreed that if the Taliban stick to the agreement, they will withdraw all forces from Afghanistan within 14 months.

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