It's been seven days since a week long, reduction in violence agreement between the United States and the Taliban officially went into place. Since then, the U.S. has successfully monitored a lack of violence in the country, which encompassed roadside bombs, suicide bombs, rocket attacks and more, on the ground in Afghanistan.
As a result, President Trump announced Friday afternoon the United States will move to phase two of a long-term ceasefire agreement with the Taliban.
"Nearly 19 years ago, American service members went to Afghanistan to root out the terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks. In that time, we have made great progress in Afghanistan, but at great cost to our brave service members, to the American taxpayers, and to the people of Afghanistan. When I ran for office, I promised the American people I would begin to bring our troops home, and seek to end this war. We are making substantial progress on that promise," President Trump released in a statement.
"Soon, at my direction, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will witness the signing of an agreement with representatives of the Taliban, while Secretary of Defense Mark Esper will issue a joint declaration with the government of Afghanistan. If the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan live up to these commitments, we will have a powerful path forward to end the war in Afghanistan and bring our troops home," Trump continued. "These commitments represent an important step to a lasting peace in a new Afghanistan, free from Al Qaeda, ISIS, and any other terrorist group that would seek to bring us harm. Ultimately it will be up to the people of Afghanistan to work out their future. We, therefore, urge the Afghan people to seize this opportunity for peace and a new future for their country."
"I thank the hundreds of thousands of American warriors who have proudly served in Afghanistan. We have killed or captured many ISIS and Al Qaeda terrorists. We honor your service and the sacrifices you and your families have made for the American people. These agreements are a result of the strenuous efforts of those who fought so hard in Afghanistan for the United States of America," he said.
Now that the threshold for a violence reduction has been met by the Taliban, the terrorist organization must now come to the table for talks with the Afghanistan government and other members of Afghan civil society to hammer out a final agreement.
"Upon a successful implementation of this understanding, signing of the U.S.-Taliban agreement is expected to move forward. We are preparing for the signing to take place on February 29," the State Department said last week, "Intra-Afghan negotiations will start soon thereafter, and will build on this fundamental step to deliver a comprehensive and permeant ceasefire and the future political roadmap for Afghanistan The only way to achieve a sustainable peace in Afghanistan is for Afghans to come together and agree on the way forward."