For O`Hanlon, the Doha peace agreement is just the beginning. However, experts point out that the agreement between the government of U.S. President Donald J. Trump and Taliban leaders is only the first step toward a lasting peace. The biggest challenge, they say, will be negotiating an agreement between the Islamist fundamentalist group and the Afghan government on the future of Afghanistan. Many Afghans, exhausted by a war that has killed thousands of people and forced millions to flee, fear that a U.S. withdrawal could trigger new conflicts and ultimately allow the Taliban to regain control. On March 27, 2020, the Afghan government announced the creation of a 21-member negotiating team for peace talks. However, on March 29, the Taliban rejected the team on the grounds that “we will only be sitting in talks with a negotiating team that is consistent with our agreements and built up according to established principles.” [122] On 31 March 2020, a three-member Taliban delegation arrived in Kabul to discuss the release of the prisoners.

[123] They are the first Taliban representatives to visit Kabul since 2001. [123] The Afghan government had also agreed to conduct the talks at Bagram prison. [123] However, on the same day, the Afghan government announced that the Taliban`s refusal to accept a new ceasefire and the Taliban delegation`s refusal to appear in prison on the scheduled date had both led to the postponement of the prisoner exchange. [125] [126] [127] After the arrival of the Taliban delegation, a senior Afghan government official told the Reuters news agency that “the release of the prisoners could take place in a few days, if all goes according to plan.” [124] On February 29, 2020, the United States and the Taliban signed a peace agreement in Doha, Qatar, officially titled the “Afghanistan Peace Agreement.” [95] The provisions of the agreement include the withdrawal of all U.S. and NATO troops from Afghanistan, a Taliban promise to prevent Al Qaeda from operating in as-controlled areas and talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government. [96] The United States has agreed to reduce its initial level from 13,000 to 8,600 by July 2020, followed by a total withdrawal within 14 months if the Taliban meet their commitments. [7] The United States also committed to closing five military bases within 135 days[97] and announced its intention to end economic sanctions against the Taliban by August 27, 2020. [98] Despite the peace agreement between the United States and the Taliban, insurgent attacks on Afghan security forces have reportedly intensified in the country.

In the 45 days following the agreement (between March 1 and April 15, 2020), the Taliban carried out more than 4,500 attacks in Afghanistan, an increase of more than 70% over the same period last year. [108] More than 900 Afghan security forces were killed during this period, compared to about 520 in the same period the previous year. Meanwhile, due to a significant reduction in the number of offensives and airstrikes from Afghanistan and the United States.