US President Donald Trump said, he planned to meet Taliban leaders in the ‘not-too-distant future’. (Photo Credit: Twitter@SecPompeo)
A day after Washington signed a historic deal with the Taliban to make an initial reduction in its forces in Afghanistan, US President Donald Trump said, he planned to meet Taliban leaders in the ‘not-too-distant future’. "I will be meeting personally with Taliban leaders in the not-too-distant future. And we will be very much hoping that they will be doing what they say they are going to be doing: they will be killing terrorists. They will be killing some very bad people. They will keep that fight going," Trump told reporters.
Asserting that war against terrorism must be fought by the countries in the specific region, Trump said, "We have had tremendous success in Afghanistan in the killing of terrorists, but it is time, after all these years, to go and bring our people back home. We want to bring our people back home."
"We just signed an agreement that puts us in a position to get it done, bring us down to in the vicinity of 8,000 troops. The United Nations was informed of everything," Trump added.
The deal was signed in the Qatari capital Doha in the presence of US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on hand to witness the ceremony.
"Today is a monumental day for Afghanistan," the U.S. Embassy in Kabul said on Twitter. "It is about making peace and crafting a common brighter future. We stand with Afghanistan."
Hours before the deal, the Taliban ordered all its fighters in Afghanistan "to refrain from any kind of attack ... for the happiness of the nation."
"The biggest thing is that we hope the US remain committed to their promises during the negotiation and peace deal," said Zabiullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the hardline Islamist group.
The Taliban’s sheltering of Al-Qaeda was the main reason for the US invasion following the 9/11 attacks.
The conflict has cost the US taxpayer more than $1 trillion in military and rebuilding costs since the US-led invasion of 2001.
More than 100,000 Afghan civilians have been killed or injured over the past decade, according to the United Nations.
(With PTI inputs)