The US government and the Taliban have signed an “agreement for bringing peace” to Afghanistan after more than 18 years of conflict.
The US and NATO allies have agreed to withdraw all troops within 14 months if the militants uphold the deal.
President Trump said it had been a “long and hard journey” in Afghanistan. “It’s time after all these years to bring our people back home,” he said.
Talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban are due to follow.
Under the agreement, the militants also agreed not to allow al-Qaeda or any other extremist group to operate in the areas they control.
Amnesty International’s South Asia Researcher, Zaman Sultani, said of the agreement: “no one desires peace more than the people of Afghanistan, who have suffered so much over the past four decades of conflict.
But he said any peace deal “must not ignore the voice of victims. It must not disregard their calls for justice, truth and reparation for war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious human rights violations and abuses – committed by all sides in the conflict.”
Sultani also said that the rights of women and girls, and the rights of religious minorities in Afghanistan must also be guaranteed.
“Despite many serious and ongoing challenges, Afghanistan has made significant human rights achievements on different fronts that must be protected and should not be reversed,” Sultani continued.
“These include the right to walk the streets freely, without civilians being killed or injured. The right of women to leave their homes, work and marry freely without discrimination. The right of teachers to work and the right of children, especially girls, to get an education. The rights of journalists and human rights defenders to express themselves freely and carry out their important work without fear of reprisals,” Sultani expounded.
“A peace process must put human rights at its heart.”Sultani ended. (Source: Amnesty Intl.)