Trump says Mike Pompeo will witness signing of peace deal with Taliban

U.S. President Donald Trump said Friday that he’s dispatching the Secretary of State to sign an agreement with the Taliban in Afghanistan aimed at beginning a draw down of thousands of U.S. troops and ending America’s 18-year involvement in the war.

Trump said Mike Pompeo would soon, at his direction, witness the signing of an agreement with the Taliban, an event that will see America’s top diplomat stand with leaders of the militants, who harboured al-Qaeda before the 9/11 attacks and are responsible for the deaths of thousands of American servicemen and women. He said Defence Secretary Mark Esper also will issue a joint declaration with the government of Afghanistan.

Trump did not say where the deal would be signed, but it’s been previously reported that it would occur Saturday in Doha, Qatar.

Signing the deal comes after a week in which both U.S.-led forces and the Taliban committed to a reduction in violence. Under the plan being signed, the U.S. is to reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan to 8,600 from about 13,000.