The United States has pledged to withdraw all its armed forces – as well as allies, partners and civil security personnel – within 14 months of the signing of the agreement, until the Taliban proves its commitment to the agreement. Probably in good faith, the United States also committed to move its troops to 8,600 and withdraw them from 5 military bases within the first 135 days. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani`s spokesman, Sediq Sediqqi, said on Twitter, quoting the Afghan head of state: « The agreement is a step forward towards opening negotiations on the most important issues, including a comprehensive ceasefire as a central demand of the Afghan people. » Efforts to reach a negotiated solution could also crumble if President Donald J. Trump decides to withdraw all U.S. forces without agreement, because of domestic policy scales (such as the desire to win political support before the November 2020 presidential elections), challenges in negotiations, or concerns about a corrupt and illegitimate Afghan government. In all of these cases, administrators probably feel that the cost of withdrawal is minimal and that the benefits of a stay are minimal due to other national and international priorities. A decision by the United States to withdraw all armed forces would be a mistake and would likely lead to an aborted peace process and the withdrawal of European and international troops in Afghanistan. This is a fundamentally different scenario from the one discussed in the rest of this memo, and it would mean that the U.S. government had decided that contingency prevention was no longer a political priority. Under the Trump administration, the agreement signed between the United States and the Taliban paved the way for intra-Afghanistan peace talks between the Kabul government and the Doha Taliban. However, no tangible progress has been made in these talks in the Qatari capital since the launch on 12 September. Meanwhile, the number of American troops is already being reduced. Under the agreement between the United States and the Taliban, all U.S.

forces will withdraw by May 2021, when the Taliban will honour their commitments to Al Qaeda and begin talks with the government. In other words, withdrawal does not depend on an agreement between the Afghan government and the Taliban. The decades of war in Afghanistan and the resulting regional instability affect each of these regional powers; Similarly, regional powers have their own interests in Afghanistan and can use subversive means to secure them.