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US–Taliban deal

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US–Taliban deal
Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan
Secretary Pompeo Participates in a Signing Ceremony in Doha (49601220548).jpg
US representative Zalmay Khalilzad (left) and Taliban representative Abdul Ghani Baradar (right) sign the agreement in Doha, Qatar, on February 29, 2020
TypePeace agreement
ContextWar in Afghanistan (2001–2021)
Signed29 February 2020; 2 years ago (2020-02-29)
LocationSheraton Grand Doha, Doha, Qatar
Signatories Zalmay Khalilzad
Abdul Ghani Baradar
Parties United States
Taliban
Languages
Full text
Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan at Wikisource

The Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan, commonly known as the US–Taliban deal or the Doha Agreement, was a peace agreement signed by the United States and the Taliban on February 29, 2020 in Doha, Qatar, to bring an end to the 2001–2021 war in Afghanistan.[1][2] Negotiated by Zalmay Khalilzad, the agreement did not involve the then Afghan government.[3] The deal, which also had secret annexes, was one of the critical events that caused the collapse of the Afghan National Security Forces.[4] Adhering to the conditions of the deal, the US dramatically reduced the number of US air raids, leaving the ANDSF without a key advantage in keeping the Taliban at bay. This resulted in 'a sense of abandonment within the ANDSF and the Afghan population'. ANDSF was ill-prepared to sustain security following a US withdrawal, which allowed for the Taliban insurgency, ultimately leading to the Taliban takeover of Kabul on 15 August 2021.[5]

The agreement stipulated fighting restrictions for both the US and the Taliban, and provided for the withdrawal of all NATO forces from Afghanistan in return for the Taliban's counter-terrorism commitments. The US agreed to an initial reduction of its force level from 13,000 to 8,600 within 135 days (i.e. by July 2020), followed by a full withdrawal within 14 months (i.e. by 1 May 2021) if the Taliban kept its commitments. The United States also committed to closing five military bases within 135 days, and expressed its intent to end economic sanctions on the Taliban by August 27, 2020. The agreement was supported by Pakistan, China, and Russia,[3] and unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council.[6] India also welcomed the pact.[7][8]

Insurgent attacks against the Afghan security forces, however, surged in the aftermath of the deal, with thousands killed. However, withdrawals per the agreement continued. By January 2021, just 2,500 US troops remained in the country, and NATO forces fully evacuated by the end of that summer. The US completed its full evacuation on August 30, 2021, as the Taliban took control of the country by force.

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United States

United States

The United States of America, commonly known as the United States or America, is a country primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 states, a federal district, five major unincorporated territories, nine Minor Outlying Islands, and 326 Indian reservations. The United States is also in free association with three Pacific Island sovereign states: the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. It is the world's third-largest country by both land and total area. It shares land borders with Canada to its north and with Mexico to its south. The U.S. has maritime borders with the Bahamas, Cuba, Russia, and other nations. With a population of over 333 million, it is the most populous country in the Americas and the third most populous in the world. The national capital is Washington, D.C. and the most populous city and financial center is New York City.

Taliban

Taliban

The Taliban, which also refers to itself by its state name, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, is a Deobandi Islamic fundamentalist and Pashtun nationalist militant political movement in Afghanistan. It ruled approximately three-quarters of the country from 1996 to 2001, before being overthrown following the United States invasion. It recaptured Kabul on 15 August 2021 after nearly 20 years of insurgency, and currently controls all of the country, although its government has not yet been recognized by any country. The Taliban government has been criticized for restricting human rights in Afghanistan, including the right of women and girls to work and to have an education.

Doha

Doha

Doha is the capital city and main financial hub of Qatar. Located on the Persian Gulf coast in the east of the country, north of Al Wakrah and south of Al Khor, it is home to most of the country's population. It is also Qatar's fastest growing city, with over 80% of the nation's population living in Doha or its surrounding suburbs.

Qatar

Qatar

Qatar, officially the State of Qatar, is a country in Western Asia. It occupies the Qatar Peninsula on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in the Middle East; it shares its sole land border with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its territory surrounded by the Persian Gulf. The Gulf of Bahrain, an inlet of the Persian Gulf, separates Qatar from nearby Bahrain. The capital is Doha, home to over 80% of the country's inhabitants, and the land area is mostly made up of flat, low-lying desert.

Afghanistan

Afghanistan

Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central Asia and South Asia. Referred to as the Heart of Asia, it is bordered by Pakistan to the east and south, Iran to the west, Turkmenistan to the northwest, Uzbekistan to the north, Tajikistan to the northeast, and China to the northeast and east. Occupying 652,864 square kilometers (252,072 sq mi) of land, the country is predominantly mountainous with plains in the north and the southwest, which are separated by the Hindu Kush mountain range. As of 2021, its population is 40.2 million, composed mostly of ethnic Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras, and Uzbeks. Kabul is the country's largest city and serves as its capital.

Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan was a presidential republic that ruled Afghanistan from 2004 to 2021. The state was established to replace the Afghan interim (2001–2002) and transitional (2002–2004) administrations, which were formed after the 2001 United States invasion of Afghanistan that had toppled the partially recognized Taliban-ruled Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. However, on 15 August 2021, the country was recaptured by the Taliban, which marked the end of the 2001–2021 war, the longest war in US history. This led to the overthrow of the Islamic Republic, led by President Ashraf Ghani, and the reinstatement of the Islamic Emirate under the control of the Taliban. The United Nations still recognizes the Islamic Republic as the legitimate government of Afghanistan instead of the Islamic Emirate, the de facto ruling government. The US–Taliban deal, signed on 29 February 2020 in Qatar, was one of the critical events that caused the collapse of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). Following the deal, the US dramatically reduced the number of air attacks and deprived the ANSF of a critical edge in fighting the Taliban insurgency, leading to the Taliban takeover of Kabul.

Afghan National Security Forces

Afghan National Security Forces

The Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), also known as the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), were the military and internal security forces of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

Taliban insurgency

Taliban insurgency

The Taliban insurgency was an insurgency that began after the group's fall from power during the 2001 War in Afghanistan. The Taliban forces fought against the Afghan government, led by President Hamid Karzai, and later by President Ashraf Ghani, and against a US-led coalition of forces that has included all members of NATO; the 2021 Taliban offensive resulted in the collapse of the government of Ashraf Ghani.

Fall of Kabul (2021)

Fall of Kabul (2021)

On 15 August 2021, Afghanistan's capital city of Kabul was captured by the Taliban after a major insurgent offensive that began in May 2021. This led to the overthrowing of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan under President Ashraf Ghani and the reinstatement of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan under the control of the Taliban.

Military base

Military base

A military base is a facility directly owned and operated by or for the military or one of its branches that shelters military equipment and personnel, and facilitates training and operations. A military base always provides accommodations for one or more units, but it may also be used as a command center, training ground or proving ground. In most cases, military bases rely on outside help to operate. However, certain complex bases are able to endure on their own for long periods because they are able to provide food, water and other necessities for their inhabitants while under siege. Bases for military aviation are called military air bases, or simply "air bases". Bases for military ships are called naval bases.

Economic sanctions

Economic sanctions

Economic sanctions are commercial and financial penalties applied by one or more countries against a targeted self-governing state, group, or individual. Economic sanctions are not necessarily imposed because of economic circumstances—they may also be imposed for a variety of political, military, and social issues. Economic sanctions can be used for achieving domestic and international purposes.

2021 Taliban offensive

2021 Taliban offensive

A military offensive by the Taliban insurgent group and allied militants led to the fall of the Kabul-based Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the end of the nearly 20-year War in Afghanistan that had begun following the United States invasion of the country. The Taliban victory had widespread domestic and international ramifications regarding human rights and proliferation of terrorism. The offensive included a continuation of the bottom-up succession of negotiated or paid surrenders to the Taliban from the village level upwards that started following the February 2020 US–Taliban deal.

The agreement

Abdul Ghani Baradar and Zalmay Khalilzad after signing the US–Taliban deal in Doha, Qatar
Abdul Ghani Baradar and Zalmay Khalilzad after signing the US–Taliban deal in Doha, Qatar

The intra-Afghan negotiations were scheduled to begin on March 10, 2020[9] in Oslo, Norway.[10] The composition of the Afghan government negotiating team was not determined, because the results of the 2019 Afghan presidential election were disputed.[11] The deal required the Afghan government to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners by the start of the talks, in a prisoner exchange for 1,000 government soldiers held by the Taliban.[12]

The provisions of the deal include the withdrawal of all NATO troops from Afghanistan, a Taliban pledge to prevent al-Qaeda from operating in areas under Taliban control, and talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government.[13] The United States agreed to an initial reduction of its force level from 13,000 to 8,600 by July 2020, followed by a full withdrawal within 14 months if the Taliban kept its commitments.[14] NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg pledged to bring down NATO's numbers to about 12,000 from roughly 16,000 troops.[15] The United States also committed to closing five military bases within 135 days,[12] and expressed its intent to end economic sanctions on the Taliban by August 27, 2020.[9]

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Abdul Ghani Baradar

Abdul Ghani Baradar

Abdul Ghani Baradar is an Afghan political and religious leader who is currently the acting first deputy prime minister alongside Abdul Salam Hanafi and Abdul Kabir, of Afghanistan. The co-founder of the Taliban along with Mullah Omar, he was Omar's top deputy from 2002 to 2010, and since 2019 he has been the Taliban's fourth-in-command, as the third of Leader Hibatullah Akhundzada's three deputies.

Zalmay Khalilzad

Zalmay Khalilzad

Zalmay Mamozy Khalilzad is an Afghan-American diplomat and foreign policy expert. Khalilzad was appointed by President Donald J. Trump to serve as U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation in September 2018. President Joseph R. Biden asked Khalilzad to continue in this position after the 2020 presidential election. Khalilzad resigned as U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation in October 2021. Khailzad was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as United States Ambassador to the United Nations, serving in the role from 2007 to 2009. Khalilzad was the highest ranking Muslim-American in government at the time he left the position. Prior to this, Khalilzad served in the Bush administration as Ambassador to Afghanistan from 2004 to 2005 and Ambassador to Iraq from 2005 to 2007.

Doha

Doha

Doha is the capital city and main financial hub of Qatar. Located on the Persian Gulf coast in the east of the country, north of Al Wakrah and south of Al Khor, it is home to most of the country's population. It is also Qatar's fastest growing city, with over 80% of the nation's population living in Doha or its surrounding suburbs.

Qatar

Qatar

Qatar, officially the State of Qatar, is a country in Western Asia. It occupies the Qatar Peninsula on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in the Middle East; it shares its sole land border with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its territory surrounded by the Persian Gulf. The Gulf of Bahrain, an inlet of the Persian Gulf, separates Qatar from nearby Bahrain. The capital is Doha, home to over 80% of the country's inhabitants, and the land area is mostly made up of flat, low-lying desert.

Oslo

Oslo

Oslo is the capital and most populous city of Norway. It constitutes both a county and a municipality. The municipality of Oslo had a population of 702,543 in 2022, while the city's greater urban area had a population of 1,064,235 in 2022, and the metropolitan area had an estimated population of 1,546,706 in 2021.

2019 Afghan presidential election

2019 Afghan presidential election

Presidential elections were held in Afghanistan on 28 September 2019. According to preliminary results, which runner-up Abdullah Abdullah appealed against, incumbent Ashraf Ghani was re-elected with 923,592 votes, 50.64% of the vote. After delays over disputed votes, Ghani was declared the winner in the final results on 18 February 2020. Abdullah Abdullah rejected the results and moved to set up his own parallel government and separate inauguration. However, Ghani was officially sworn in for a second term on 9 March 2020. The ensuing political crisis was not resolved until 16 May 2020, when Ghani and Abdullah signed a power-sharing deal in which Ghani would remain president and Abdullah would lead the peace talks with the Taliban when they start. Voter turnout was less than 20%.

Prisoner exchange

Prisoner exchange

A prisoner exchange or prisoner swap is a deal between opposing sides in a conflict to release prisoners: prisoners of war, spies, hostages, etc. Sometimes, dead bodies are involved in an exchange.

United States

United States

The United States of America, commonly known as the United States or America, is a country primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 states, a federal district, five major unincorporated territories, nine Minor Outlying Islands, and 326 Indian reservations. The United States is also in free association with three Pacific Island sovereign states: the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. It is the world's third-largest country by both land and total area. It shares land borders with Canada to its north and with Mexico to its south. The U.S. has maritime borders with the Bahamas, Cuba, Russia, and other nations. With a population of over 333 million, it is the most populous country in the Americas and the third most populous in the world. The national capital is Washington, D.C. and the most populous city and financial center is New York City.

Jens Stoltenberg

Jens Stoltenberg

Jens Stoltenberg is a Norwegian politician who has been serving as the 13th secretary general of NATO since 2014. A member of the Norwegian Labour Party, he previously served as the 34th prime minister of Norway from 2000 to 2001, and again from 2005 until 2013.

Military base

Military base

A military base is a facility directly owned and operated by or for the military or one of its branches that shelters military equipment and personnel, and facilitates training and operations. A military base always provides accommodations for one or more units, but it may also be used as a command center, training ground or proving ground. In most cases, military bases rely on outside help to operate. However, certain complex bases are able to endure on their own for long periods because they are able to provide food, water and other necessities for their inhabitants while under siege. Bases for military aviation are called military air bases, or simply "air bases". Bases for military ships are called naval bases.

Economic sanctions

Economic sanctions

Economic sanctions are commercial and financial penalties applied by one or more countries against a targeted self-governing state, group, or individual. Economic sanctions are not necessarily imposed because of economic circumstances—they may also be imposed for a variety of political, military, and social issues. Economic sanctions can be used for achieving domestic and international purposes.

Intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations

The US–Taliban deal called for intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations for “a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire” to start on March 10. The Afghan government was not a party to the US–Taliban deal, and on March 1 Afghan President Ashraf Ghani rejected a prisoner exchange, saying: "The government of Afghanistan has made no commitment to free 5,000 Taliban prisoners. [...] The release of prisoners is not the United States authority, but it is the authority of the government of Afghanistan."[16][17][18] Ghani also stated that any prisoner exchange "cannot be a prerequisite for talks," but must be a part of the negotiations.[19] On March 2, a Taliban spokesperson stated that they were "fully ready" for the intra-Afghan talks, but that there would be no talks if about 5,000 of their prisoners were not released. He also said that the agreed-upon period of reduction in violence was over and that operations against Afghan government forces could resume.[20]

Nevertheless, the negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban for release of prisoners began as planned on March 10, 2020. However, on the same day, Ghani also signed a decree for the release of 1,500 Taliban prisoners on March 14, but only if they agreed to sign pledges guaranteeing they will not return to battle.[21] The same day, the US started withdrawing some troops.[22] Despite the fact that the terms of the peace agreement also received unanimous backing from the UN Security Council,[23] sources close to the Taliban, including Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen, afterward announced that the group had rejected Ghani's prisoner swap decree and still insisted on the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners.[24][25][26] On March 14, 2020, Javid Faisal, a spokesman for the National Security Council, announced that Ghani had delayed the release of Taliban prisoners, citing a need to review the list of prisoners, thus endangering the peace agreement between the US government and the Taliban.[27]

On March 27, 2020, the Afghan government announced the formation of a 21-member negotiation team for the peace talks. However, on March 29 the Taliban rejected the team, stating that "we shall only sit for talks with a negotiation team that conforms with our agreements and is constituted in accordance with the laid out principles."[28] On March 31, 2020, a three-person Taliban delegation arrived in Kabul to discuss the release of prisoners.[29][30] They are the first Taliban representatives to visit Kabul since 2001.[29] The Afghan government had also previously agreed to hold the talks in Bagram Prison.[29] The same day, however, the Afghan government announced that the Taliban's refusal to agree to another ceasefire and the Taliban delegation's refusal to show up at the prison at the scheduled time both resulted in the postponement of the prisoner swap.[31][32][33] Following the arrival of the Taliban delegation, a senior Afghan government official told Reuters "the prisoner release might go ahead in a few days if everything goes as planned."[30]

On March 31, 2020, the UN Security Council urged all warring parties to declare a ceasefire in order for the peace process to progress further.[34] On April 1, 2020, it was revealed that both the Taliban and Afghan government did in fact hold face-to-face talks in Kabul the previous day, unlike the previous video conference talks, and that they were overseen by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).[35] However, Afghanistan's Office of the National Security Council stated that the only progress made so far was "on technical matters" and Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid afterward stated, "There will be no political talks there."[35] Outside the talks, tensions between the Afghan government and Taliban also showed when Afghan authorities blamed the Taliban for a April 1, 2020 explosion which killed several children in Helmand.[35] On the second day of negotiations, it was agreed that on April 2, 2020, up to 100 Taliban prisoners would be released in exchange for 20 Afghan military personnel[36]

On April 7, 2020, the Taliban walked out of the prisoner swap talks, which Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen described as "fruitless."[37][38] Shaheen also stated in a tweet that hours after walking out of the talks, the Taliban's negotiating team was recalled from Kabul.[38] The Taliban also failed to secure the release of any of the 15 commanders they sought to be released.[37] Arguments over which prisoners to swap also resulted in a delay of the planned prisoner swap.[37] The next day, Faisal maintained that only 100 Taliban prisoners would be released.[38] Faisal later stated that the 100 prisoners, who were incarcerated at Bagram, were released.[39] The Taliban refused to verify these releases, in part due to the fact that the Taliban's withdrawal from Kabul prevented its "technical team" from making verifications of the prisoner identities.[39] As the Afghan government solely determined which prisoners were released, it also could not be confirmed if any of the prisoners released were on the Taliban's list of preferred names.[39]

On May 17, 2020, Ghani signed a power-sharing deal with his rival Abdullah Abdullah which ended the long-running dispute over the results of the 2019 Afghan presidential elections, and assigned responsibility for peace negotiations to Abdullah.[40]

By August 2020, the Afghan government released 5,100 prisoners,[41] and the Taliban released 1,000.[42] However, the Afghan government refused to release 400 prisoners from the list of those the Taliban wanted released, because those 400 were accused of serious crimes.[43] Ghani stated that he did not have the constitutional authority to release these prisoners, so he convened a loya jirga from August 7 to 9 to discuss the issue.[44] The jirga agreed to free the 400 remaining prisoners.[43]

On August 14, 2020, one of the 21 members of the Afghan negotiating team, Fawzia Koofi, and her sister Maryam Koofi were attacked by gunmen near Kabul. Fawzia Koofi is a prominent human rights activist in Afghanistan, who has been vocal in denouncing the Taliban.[45]

Taliban officials accused the Afghan government of intentionally postponing the release of 100 Taliban detainees in order to hamper the negotiations. The Afghan government denied the claims, insisting that all Taliban prisoners had been freed.

By September 2020, the Afghan government had freed about 5,000 Taliban prisoners after a request from the Trump administration. A government mediation team remained on standby to travel to Doha for talks with the Taliban, but delays persisted.[46]

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Ashraf Ghani

Ashraf Ghani

Mohammad Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai is an Afghan politician, academic, and economist who served as the president of Afghanistan from September 2014 until August 2021, when his government was overthrown by the Taliban.

United Nations Security Council

United Nations Security Council

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations (UN) and is charged with ensuring international peace and security, recommending the admission of new UN members to the General Assembly, and approving any changes to the UN Charter. Its powers include establishing peacekeeping operations, enacting international sanctions, and authorizing military action. The UNSC is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions on member states.

Suhail Shaheen

Suhail Shaheen

Muhammad Suhail Shaheen is a Taliban member who is currently the head of the Political Office in Doha. He edited the English-language, state-owned Afghan newspaper The Kabul Times during the first Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (1996–2001), before being appointed to Afghanistan's Embassy in Pakistan as a deputy ambassador.

International Committee of the Red Cross

International Committee of the Red Cross

The International Committee of the Red Cross is a humanitarian organization which is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and it is also a three-time Nobel Prize Laureate. State parties (signatories) to the Geneva Convention of 1949 and its Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005 have given the ICRC a mandate to protect victims of international and internal armed conflicts. Such victims include war wounded persons, prisoners, refugees, civilians, and other non-combatants.

Zabihullah Mujahid

Zabihullah Mujahid

Zabihullah Mujahid is an Afghan official Central spokesman for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan since 25 October 2021 and Deputy Ministry of Information and Culture since 7 September 2021. He has long served as one of several spokesmen for the Taliban, the others being Suhail Shaheen and Yousef Ahmadi. Mujahid often commented mainly on the Taliban's activities in eastern, northern, and central Afghanistan, while Ahmadi focused on the western and southern regions.

Abdullah Abdullah

Abdullah Abdullah

Abdullah Abdullah is an Afghan politician who led the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) from May 2020 until August 2021, when the Afghan government was overthrown by the Taliban. The council had been established to facilitate peace talks between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban insurgents. Abdullah served as the Chief Executive of Afghanistan from September 2014 to March 2020, and as Minister of Foreign Affairs from December 2001 to April 2005. Prior to that, he was a senior member of the Northern Alliance, working as an adviser to Ahmad Shah Massoud. He worked as an ophthalmologist and medical doctor in the 1980s.

2019 Afghan presidential election

2019 Afghan presidential election

Presidential elections were held in Afghanistan on 28 September 2019. According to preliminary results, which runner-up Abdullah Abdullah appealed against, incumbent Ashraf Ghani was re-elected with 923,592 votes, 50.64% of the vote. After delays over disputed votes, Ghani was declared the winner in the final results on 18 February 2020. Abdullah Abdullah rejected the results and moved to set up his own parallel government and separate inauguration. However, Ghani was officially sworn in for a second term on 9 March 2020. The ensuing political crisis was not resolved until 16 May 2020, when Ghani and Abdullah signed a power-sharing deal in which Ghani would remain president and Abdullah would lead the peace talks with the Taliban when they start. Voter turnout was less than 20%.

Fawzia Koofi

Fawzia Koofi

Fawzia Koofi is an Afghan politician and women's rights activist. Originally from Badakhshan province, Koofi was recently a member of the Afghan delegation negotiating peace with the Taliban in Doha Qatar. She is an ex Member of Parliament in Kabul and was the Vice President of the National Assembly.

Resumption of insurgency

After the signing of the US–Taliban deal on February 29, 2020, insurgent attacks against Afghan security forces surged. The Taliban resumed offensive operations against the Afghan army and police on March 3, 2020, conducting attacks in Kunduz and Helmand provinces.[47] On March 4, the US conducted airstrikes on Taliban fighters in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province.[48]

However, in the aftermath of the agreement, the US stopped supporting the Afghan military in its offensive operations, forcing it to take mostly defensive positions around the country. According to the agreement, US military aircraft could not attack Taliban groups waiting more than 500 meters away, giving the Taliban an edge in targeting Afghan military units. The agreement also exacerbated the morale of the Afghan army and police, making them more open to accepting bargains with the Taliban. Due to a lack of information and secret annexes in the agreement, that had not been shared even with the then Afghan government, the Taliban were able to spread propaganda and disinformation about the agreement, including convincing local police and military units that the US had handed over territories to the Taliban and that they should abandon their positions.[49]

In the 45 days after the agreement (between March 1 and April 15, 2020), the Taliban conducted more than 4,500 attacks in Afghanistan, an increase of more than 70% compared to the same period in the previous year.[50] More than 900 Afghan security forces were killed in the period, up from about 520 in the same period a year earlier. Meanwhile, because of a significant reduction in the number of offensives and airstrikes by Afghan and US forces against the Taliban, Taliban casualties dropped to 610 in the period down from about 1,660 in the same period a year earlier. The Pentagon spokesman, Jonathan Hoffman, said that although the Taliban stopped conducting attacks against the US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan, the violence was still "unacceptably high" and "not conducive to a diplomatic solution." He added: "We have continued to do defensive attacks to help defend our partners in the area and we will continue to do that."[50]

On June 22, 2020, Afghanistan reported its "bloodiest week in 19 years", during which 291 members of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) were killed and 550 others wounded in 422 attacks carried out by the Taliban. At least 42 civilians, including women and children, were also killed and 105 others wounded by the Taliban across 18 provinces.[51] During the week, the Taliban kidnapped 60 civilians in the central province of Daykundi.[52]

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6 March 2020 Kabul shooting

6 March 2020 Kabul shooting

On 6 March 2020, a mass shooting occurred in Kabul, Afghanistan. Two gunmen fired from a building that was under construction, killing 32 people and injuring another 81. It happened during a ceremony to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the murder by the Taliban of Afghan Shia leader Abdul Ali Mazari. The ceremony was attended by Afghan politician Abdullah Abdullah, who escaped unharmed. The two gunmen were killed later the same day. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant claimed responsibility for the attack.

Kabul gurdwara attack

Kabul gurdwara attack

On 25 March 2020, ISIS-Haqqani network gunmen and suicide bombers attacked the Gurdwara Har Rai Sahib in Kabul, Afghanistan.

May 2020 Afghanistan attacks

May 2020 Afghanistan attacks

In May 2020, a series of insurgent attacks took place in Afghanistan, starting when the Taliban killed 20 Afghan soldiers and wounded 29 others in Zari, Balkh and Grishk, Helmand on 1 and 3 May, respectively. On 12 May, a hospital's maternity ward in Kabul and a funeral in Kuz Kunar (Khewa), Nangarhar were attacked, resulting in the deaths of 56 people and injuries of 148 others, including newborn babies, mothers, nurses, and mourners. ISIL–KP claimed responsibility for the funeral bombing, but no insurgent group claimed responsibility for the hospital shooting.

June 2020 Afghanistan attacks

June 2020 Afghanistan attacks

In June 2020, insurgents and the Taliban carried out attacks throughout Afghanistan in a continuation of attacks carried out in May.

July 2020 Afghanistan attacks

July 2020 Afghanistan attacks

In a continuation of previous attacks by the Taliban in May and June, multiple clashes between Afghan security forces and the Taliban were reported. They carried out several attacks throughout Afghanistan, resulting in multiple fatalities on both sides. Both the Taliban and government forces have accused each other responsibility over the recent surge in violence across Afghanistan. The attacks come despite the signing of a peace deal with the U.S. in February that was intended to put an end to the war.

August 2020 Afghanistan attacks

August 2020 Afghanistan attacks

The August 2020 Afghanistan attacks were multiple attacks that occurred in August 2020. The attacks left at least 165 people dead, and another 177 were injured.

September 2020 Afghanistan attacks

September 2020 Afghanistan attacks

The September 2020 Afghanistan attacks were multiple attacks that occurred in September 2020. The attacks left at least 105 people dead and another 112 injured. 97 insurgents were also killed and another 58 were injured in these attacks.

October 2020 Afghanistan attacks

October 2020 Afghanistan attacks

The October 2020 Afghanistan attacks were multiple attacks launched by insurgents including the Taliban and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan Province in October 2020. The attacks left at least 243 people dead and 339 injured. 10 perpetrators were also killed in these attacks.

Russian bounty program

Russian bounty program

The Russian bounty program is an alleged project of Russian military intelligence to pay bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing American and other allied service members during the war in Afghanistan. The existence of the alleged program was reported in the media in 2020 and became an issue in the 2020 presidential election campaign. In June 2020, The Washington Post reported that intelligence suggesting the existence of a bounty operation dated to as early as 2018. The Washington Post and Associated Press both reported that Trump administration White House officials were informed of the intelligence reports in early 2019. In June 2020, The New York Times reported that U.S. intelligence agencies had assessed, several months earlier, that Unit 29155 of the Russian military intelligence agency GRU had secretly offered Taliban-associated militants bounties to kill U.S. troops and other coalition personnel in Afghanistan, including during peace talks with the Taliban. The New York Times reported that "Officials said there was disagreement among intelligence officials about the strength of the evidence about the suspected Russian plot." Defense Department officials then reported that U.S. military intelligence was unable to corroborate the reported program. In April 2021, the U.S. government reported that the U.S. intelligence community only had "low to moderate confidence" in the bounty program allegations.

Afghan National Security Forces

Afghan National Security Forces

The Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), also known as the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), were the military and internal security forces of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

List of active United States military aircraft

List of active United States military aircraft

Active United States military aircraft is a list of military aircraft that are used by the United States military. For aircraft no longer in service, see the list of military aircraft of the United States.

Daykundi Province

Daykundi Province

Daykundi also spelled as Daikundi, Daykondi, Daikondi or Dai Kundi, is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan, located in the central part of the country. It has a population of about 516,504, and is a Hazara Province.

Withdrawal of NATO forces

The US–Taliban deal also dealt with the withdrawal from Afghanistan of "all military forces of the United States, its allies, and Coalition partners, including all non-diplomatic civilian personnel, private security contractors, trainers, advisors, and supporting services personnel". The Trump administration agreed to an initial reduction of US troops in Afghanistan from 13,000 to 8,600 within 135 days (i.e., by July 2020), followed by a full withdrawal within 14 months (i.e., by 1 May 2021), if the Taliban kept its commitments.[53] NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg pledged to bring down NATO's numbers to about 12,000 from roughly 16,000 troops.[15] The United States also committed to closing five military bases within 135 days.[12] On March 10, 2020, the US started withdrawing some soldiers.[22]

On July 1, 2020, the US House Armed Services Committee overwhelmingly voted in favor of an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to restrict President Trump's ability to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan below the 8,600 that had been acted on.[54][55]

On 20 January 2021, at the inauguration of Joe Biden, there were 2,500 US soldiers still in Afghanistan. Biden's national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said that the administration would review the withdrawal agreement.[56] On 14 April 2021, the Biden administration said the US would not withdraw the remaining soldiers by 1 May, but would withdraw them by 11 September.[57][58] On 8 July, Biden specified a US withdrawal date of 31 August.[59]

Other Western forces set their own withdrawal timetables. Germany and Italy withdrew their troops from Afghanistan on 2 July 2021.[60] Australia completed its withdrawal on 15 July.[61] The final British flight was on 28 August.[62]

Throughout August 2021, the Taliban rapidly took control of the country by force. The remaining US soldiers were withdrawn by August 30, 2021.[63]

Discover more about Withdrawal of NATO forces related topics

Withdrawal of United States troops from Afghanistan (2020–2021)

Withdrawal of United States troops from Afghanistan (2020–2021)

The United States Armed Forces completed their withdrawal from Afghanistan on 30 August 2021, marking the end of the 2001–2021 war. In February 2020, the Trump administration and the Taliban, without the participation of the then Afghan government, signed the US–Taliban deal in Doha, Qatar, which stipulated fighting restrictions for both the US and the Taliban, and provided for the withdrawal of all NATO forces from Afghanistan in return for the Taliban's counter-terrorism commitments. The Trump administration's US–Taliban deal, and then the Biden administration’s decision in April 2021 to pull out all US troops by September 2021 without leaving a residual force, were the two critical events that caused the collapse of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). Following the deal, the US dramatically reduced the number of air attacks and deprived the ANSF of a critical edge in fighting the Taliban insurgency, leading to the Taliban takeover of Kabul on 15 August 2021.

2021 Taliban offensive

2021 Taliban offensive

A military offensive by the Taliban insurgent group and allied militants led to the fall of the Kabul-based Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the end of the nearly 20-year War in Afghanistan that had begun following the United States invasion of the country. The Taliban victory had widespread domestic and international ramifications regarding human rights and proliferation of terrorism. The offensive included a continuation of the bottom-up succession of negotiated or paid surrenders to the Taliban from the village level upwards that started following the February 2020 US–Taliban deal.

Jens Stoltenberg

Jens Stoltenberg

Jens Stoltenberg is a Norwegian politician who has been serving as the 13th secretary general of NATO since 2014. A member of the Norwegian Labour Party, he previously served as the 34th prime minister of Norway from 2000 to 2001, and again from 2005 until 2013.

Military base

Military base

A military base is a facility directly owned and operated by or for the military or one of its branches that shelters military equipment and personnel, and facilitates training and operations. A military base always provides accommodations for one or more units, but it may also be used as a command center, training ground or proving ground. In most cases, military bases rely on outside help to operate. However, certain complex bases are able to endure on their own for long periods because they are able to provide food, water and other necessities for their inhabitants while under siege. Bases for military aviation are called military air bases, or simply "air bases". Bases for military ships are called naval bases.

United States House Committee on Armed Services

United States House Committee on Armed Services

The U.S. House Committee on Armed Services, commonly known as the House Armed Services Committee or HASC, is a standing committee of the United States House of Representatives. It is responsible for funding and oversight of the Department of Defense (DoD) and the United States Armed Forces, as well as substantial portions of the Department of Energy. Its regular legislative product is the National Defense Authorization Act, which has been passed by Congress and signed into law each year since 1962.

National Defense Authorization Act

National Defense Authorization Act

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is the name for each of a series of United States federal laws specifying the annual budget and expenditures of the U.S. Department of Defense. The first NDAA was passed in 1961. The U.S. Congress oversees the defense budget primarily through two yearly bills: the National Defense Authorization Act and defense appropriations bills. The authorization bill is the jurisdiction of the Senate Armed Services Committee and House Armed Services Committee and determines the agencies responsible for defense, establishes recommended funding levels, and sets the policies under which money will be spent. The appropriations bill provides funds.

Presidency of Joe Biden

Presidency of Joe Biden

Joe Biden's tenure as the 46th president of the United States began with his inauguration on January 20, 2021. Biden, a Democrat from Delaware who previously served as vice president under Barack Obama, took office following his victory in the 2020 presidential election over Republican incumbent president Donald Trump. Upon his inauguration, he became the oldest president in American history. Biden entered office amid the COVID-19 pandemic, an economic crisis, and increased political polarization.

Jake Sullivan

Jake Sullivan

Jacob Jeremiah Sullivan is an American political advisor who currently serves as the United States National Security Advisor to President Joe Biden. He was previously Director of Policy to President Barack Obama, National Security Advisor to then Vice President Biden and Deputy Chief of Staff to Secretary Hillary Clinton at the U.S. Department of State. Sullivan also served as Senior Advisor to the U.S. federal government at the Iran nuclear negotiations and Senior Policy Advisor to Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign, as well as visiting professor at Yale Law School.

Source: "US–Taliban deal", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, January 30th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/US–Taliban_deal.

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See also
References
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