Afghans on edge as US-Taliban peace deal nears

Afghans are hopeful but wary about the growing likelihood of a deal between the United States and the Taliban.

After nearly two decades of warfare, the two sides are expected to sign an agreement in Doha next Saturday. The pact could pave the way for a pullout of thousands of US troops, Reuters reported.

“As a citizen who has grown up after the US takeover, I don’t want to sacrifice everything,” Baha Farkish an 18-year-old student at Kabul University, told the news outlet, warning darkly of what could happen if the Taliban returns to power.

“I don’t want my country to lose the achievements of the last two decades,” she added. “As a young Afghan, I expect to keep my freedom of speech and opinion after the peace agreement with Taliban.”

Still, others were happy at what could end years of struggle. On Saturday, the country entered into seven days of “reduced violence” between the Taliban and US.

In Jalalabad, roughly 100 miles from the capital city of Kabul, a crowd organized an impromptu mass cycling event to ring in the news, Reuters reported.

The Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 before being ousted by the United States after the 9/11 attacks.

The two sides have been at war since, though President Trump has been looking for a way to exit the conflict. He, however, canceled an earlier planned meeting with the Taliban at Camp David after a bombing in September.

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