President Donald Trump has announced a deal with the Taliban that will lead to the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan. The government agreed to give the militants more territory to govern, while they comply with certain pre-conditions about any potential terrorist groups in the country. The US will also keep close contact with the Taliban through diplomatic channels.

“I believe this is the beginning of the end of the longest war in American history,” Trump said at the White House on Friday.

The new deal represents a major change from President Barack Obama’s strategy of trying to end a war that has now lasted 17 years. Obama’s policy was to negotiate with the Taliban rather than have troops fight with them. The Taliban reached a deal in 2016 with the Afghan government, but officials said the negotiations collapsed over a Muslim cleric named Mullah Omar.

Friday’s announcement also marks a major loss for the Obama administration. Obama took office promising to end the war in Afghanistan, but he made a series of proposals that were rebuffed by the Taliban, according to Politico.

“There’s been no ground troops going in for 17 years, and the Taliban can no longer be beaten militarily,” Kathleen Hicks, a retired U.S. State Department official who helped negotiate the peace deal between the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan, told Politico.

In a video message, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said the United States had not complied with a Taliban condition of nominating a member of its shadow government to oversee Afghanistan’s security.

“Our government does not, under any circumstances, accept a shadow government,” Ghani said.

Neither he nor Trump provided any details about how long the agreement would last, or how many troops might come home.

“As the Taliban agrees to ‘move the agenda’ toward fighting terrorism,” CNN’s Christine Amanpour tweeted. “They will be better able to do so without the Western gunships and boots that have been our allies.”

Read the full story at CNN.


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