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US aims to withdraw all forces 'within 14 months': US-Afghan sign agreement for bringing peace

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Doha, Feb 29: The United States signed a historic deal with Taliban insurgents on Saturday at a ceremony in Doha that will see America begin to withdraw its troops in return for insurgent guarantees.

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was greeted by Qatari officials, along with Washington's chief negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad. Taliban co-founder Mullah Baradar led the insurgents' delegation.

After an initial reduction of troops to 8,600 within 135 days of Saturday's signing, the US and its partners "will complete the withdrawal of their remaining forces from Afghanistan within 14 months... and will withdraw all their forces from remaining bases", the declaration stated.

US Secy of State Mike Pompeo in Doha said, "Effort only became real when the Taliban showed interest in pursuing real peace & ending their relationship with Al-Qaeda & other foreign terrorist groups. Agreement that we will sign today is the true test of this effort."

The Doha accord to see thousands of American troops quit Afghanistan in a phased plan after more than 18 years in return for various security commitments from the insurgents and a pledge to hold talks with the government in Kabul.

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