Feb 22, 2020 - World

U.S. military officially stops offensive operations in Afghanistan

Citizens in Afghanistan celebrate the first day of reduced violence. Photo: Javed Tanveer/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. military officially ceased offensive operations against the Taliban in Afghanistan early Saturday morning, The Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: This is the first step in the U.S.-Afghanistan peace process. If the "reduction of violence" for the next seven days is effective, the U.S. government and Taliban will likely sign a peace deal at the end of February.

  • Gen. Austin "Scott" Miller told reporters in Kabul “our operations are defensive at this point, we stopped our offensive operations as part of our obligations, but we remain committed to defend our forces," per the Post.

The big picture: The peace deal between the U.S. and Taliban is finally moving forward just as the United Nations releases a report more than 100,000 civilian casualties have been counted over the past 10 years, AP reports.

  • The United Nation's secretary-general's special representative for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, told AP, “Almost no civilian in Afghanistan has escaped being personally affected in some way by the ongoing violence. It is absolutely imperative for all parties to seize the moment to stop the fighting, as peace is long overdue; civilian lives must be protected and efforts for peace are underway.”

Go deeper: U.S. and Taliban announce first step in Afghanistan peace process

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It's no Nixon to China moment, but President Trump made history today with what is apparently the first presidential phone call with a top Taliban leader.

Why it matters: The prospect of a peaceful end to America's longest war is on the line.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Mar 3, 2020 - World

U.S. reaches "huge milestone moment" in Afghanistan peace process

U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad (L) and Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (R) sign a peace agreement between U.S., Taliban, in Doha, Qatar on Feb. 29. Photo: Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

The U.S. has signed a deal with the Taliban aimed at ending its war in Afghanistan after 18 years, starting with the withdrawal of around 4,000 troops "within months."

Why it matters: America has wanted out of Afghanistan for at least a decade. The deal signed in Doha should finally accomplish that — but peace for Afghanistan remains far from secure.

Go deeperArrowFeb 29, 2020 - World

U.S. troops begin withdrawing from Afghanistan

Afghani President Ashraf Ghani. Photo: Sayed Khodaiberdi Sadat/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

U.S. troops began withdrawing from Afghanistan on Tuesday under the peace agreement signed by the U.S. and Taliban last month, reports the AP.

The state of play: The move comes amid ongoing political tensions in Afghanistan as Kabul hosted two presidential inaugurations on Monday, with both incumbent Ashraf Ghani and his rival Abdullah Abdullah continuing to insist that they won the last election.

Go deeperArrowMar 10, 2020 - World