The United States said it is committed to reducing the number of its troops in Afghanistan to 8600 — from the current 13,000 — within 135 days of signing the deal, and working with its allies to proportionally reduce the number of coalition forced in Afghanistan over that period, if the Taliban adhere to their commitments.
A full withdrawal of all US and coalition forces would occur within 14 months of the deal getting signed, if the Taliban hold up their end of the deal, the joint statement said.
For U.S President Donald Trump, the Doha deal represents a chance to make good on his promise to bring US troops home.
But security experts have also called it a foreign policy gamble that would give the Taliban international legitimacy.
“Today is a monumental day for Afghanistan,” the US Embassy in Kabul said on Twitter. “It is about making peace and crafting a common brighter future. We stand with Afghanistan.”
Ghani said he hoped the Doha deal paves the way towards lasting peace.
“We hope the US-Taliban peace will lead to a permanent ceasefire…The nation is looking forward to a full ceasefire,” he told a news conference in Kabul.
The Afghan government said it stood ready to negotiate and conclude a ceasefire with the Taliban, and it affirmed its support for the phased withdrawal of US and coalition forces subject to the Taliban’s fulfilment of its commitments.
It also said that it remained committed to preventing militant groups from using its soil to threaten the security of the United States, its allies and other countries.
Separately, NATO pledged to adjust the coalition troop levels in the first phase too, bringing down NATO’s numbers to about 12,000 from roughly 16,000 troops at present.
“We went in together in 2001, we are going to adjust (troop levels) together and when the time is right, we are going to leave together, but we are only going to leave when conditions are right,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who was in Kabul on Saturday, told reporters.
Hours before the deal, the Taliban ordered all its fighters in Afghanistan “to refrain from any kind of attack … for the happiness of the nation”.
“The biggest thing is that we hope the US remain committed to their promises during the negotiation and peace deal,” said Zabiullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the hardline Islamist group.
For millions of Afghans, the deal represents some hope for an end to years of bloodshed.
“Peace is extremely simple and my country deserves it. Today is the day when maybe we will see a positive change,” said Javed Hassan, 38, a school teacher living on the outskirts of Afghan capital, Kabul.
Hassan’s children were killed in a bomb blast carried out by the Taliban in 2018. Since then, he has been writing letters to world leaders urging them to end the Afghan war.
The war, which has killed tens of thousands of people, began when the United States launched attacks on Afghanistan just weeks after the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington by the Afghanistan-based al Qaeda militant group.