Picture for representation
Picture for representation
Filed Picture

Almost two decades after US deployed troops in Afghanistan soon after the 9/11 terror attacks, it is all set to sign a peace deal with Taliban on Saturday. Now, India will also attend the event as an observer. This comes days after US President Donald Trump visited India.

Envoys of around 30 countries including India are expected to participate in the signing event of the much-anticipated peace deal between the United States and the Taliban in Doha on Saturday, sources told ANI.

"US-Taliban peace deal is set to be signed today evening in Doha (Qatar), Indian envoy is among 30 countries invited to witness the event," said sources.

India's Ambassador to Qatar, P Kumaran, is likely to attend the ceremony. This will be the first time New Delhi will be officially represented at an event involving the Taliban.

It is to be noted that India did not recognise Taliban when the terrorist group was in power between 1996 and 2001.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would also witness the signing of the agreement while Secretary of Defence Mark Esper will issue a joint declaration with the government of Afghanistan, announced President Donald Trump.

The US and Taliban negotiators had agreed earlier this week to finalise the pact on February 29 if a seven-day cooling-off period passed off peacefully. The truce came into effect on Friday night.

Trump had said he would put his name on the peace deal with the Taliban if a week went by without major violence in Afghanistan.

Ahead of the deal signing, Foreign Secretary Harsha Vardhan Shringla on Friday met Afghanistan leadership including President Ashraf Ghani, CEO Abdullah Abdullah and conveyed India's support for Afghans in their pursuit for sustainable peace, security and development.

On Friday, a six-member delegation from the Afghan government left for the Qatari capital of Doha to hold talks with the Taliban.

The team, personally chosen by President Ghani, is being dubbed as "a group to establish initial contacts" with the Taliban, according to Tolo News.

This meeting will be the first between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

According to the group, a part of the agreement calls for the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners. America has wanted a meeting between the Taliban and representatives of the Afghan government over the issue. But Kabul has been apprehensive over the discussion as they are unsure whether the Taliban would be willing to discuss other issues as well with the government team.

The Taliban and Afghan leaders, including from the government, are expected to meet within 10 to 15 days of Saturday's signing. Both sides will negotiate the framework of Afghanistan post-war and issues that include a permanent ceasefire, the rights of women and minorities, and governance, reported Al Jazeera.

(For all the latest News, Mumbai, Entertainment, Cricket, Business and Featured News updates, visit Free Press Journal. Also, follow us on Twitter and Instagram and do like our Facebook page for continuous updates on the go)

Free Press Journal

www.freepressjournal.in