Secretary of state rejects to sign Afghan peace deal

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While the US and Taliban are close to a peace deal to end the 18-year war in Afghanistan, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has declined to sign the Afghan peace deal, TIME Magazine reported.

On Monday, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, who is in Kabul after wrapping up Doha talks told Afghan Media that the US and the Taliban have reached an agreement in principle and it is closed, but added that the document is not final until US President Trump approves it.

Mr. Khalilzad said that based on the draft agreement, the US will withdraw 5,000 troops from five bases in Afghanistan within 135 days if conditions in the agreement are addressed by the Taliban.

But the deal doesn’t ensure several crucial things, According to the TIME Magazine, the discussions tell that it doesn’t guarantee the continued presence of U.S. counterterrorism forces to battle al Qaeda, the survival of the pro-U.S. government in Kabul, or even an end to the fighting in Afghanistan. “No one speaks with certainty. None,” said an Afghan official taking part in briefings on the deal with Khalilzad. “It is all based on hope. There is no trust. There is no history of trust. There is no evidence of honesty and sincerity from the Taliban,” and intercepted communications “show that they think they have fooled the U.S. while the U.S. believes that should the Taliban cheat, they will pay a hefty price.”

Signing such a document by Secretary of State would amount to de facto recognition of the Taliban as a legitimate political entity, and he declined to do so, the Afghan officials told media.

After this news published in the media, Pompeo said through a spokesperson that he might sign if Trump and all parties struck a deal. There is no agreement to sign yet.