Qatar has played a crucial role in conducting peace negotiations between the US military and the Taliban. In 2013, at Washington’s request under the Obama administration, Qatar facilitated in opening an unofficial Taliban office in Doha so that negotiations could take place between the US, the Afghan government, and the Taliban.
Additionally, Qatar has been intrinsically involved in the United States’ mission to bring peace and stability in Afghanistan. On January 16, 2018, Qatar signed a security agreement with NATO within the framework of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative.
The agreement allowed for NATO forces and personnel to both enter and transit through Qatar, primarily using the Al-Udeid Air Base. The US and NATO coalition in Afghanistan then added Qatar into the multi-nation coalition with the first-ever deployment of Qatari ground troops to the South Asian nation in July of 2018.
Left #Qatar knowing that the world is a safer place, with solid progress towards a political settlement that will end the war in #Afghanistan. Thank you to Qatar and our allies and partners for their support of peace in Afghanistan. pic.twitter.com/j6C9B6DxDT
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) March 1, 2020
Now, seven years after the opening of the office, US officials and Taliban representatives have signed an agreement after several rounds of negotiations in Doha, in expectation of ending the United States’ longest war. The agreement was signed in Doha in the presence of leaders from Pakistan, Qatar, Turkey, India, Indonesia, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. If the deal is successful, it will pave the way for the US to gradually withdraw its troops.
The deal has four points: a 14-month timeline for the withdrawal of all US and NATO troops from Afghanistan; that Afghan soil will not be used as a launchpad to threaten the security of the US; the start of intra-Afghan negotiations by March 10; and a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.
(Image Source: Twitter – @SecPompeo)