President Donald Trump urged the Afghan people to embrace a chance for a new future Friday as he sent top US diplomat Mike Pompeo to attend the signing of a peace deal with the Taliban in Doha.
"Soon, at my direction, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will witness the signing of an agreement with representatives of the Taliban, while Secretary of Defense Mark Esper will issue a joint declaration with the government of Afghanistan," Trump said in a statement.
"If the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan live up to these commitments, we will have a powerful path forward to end the war in Afghanistan and bring our troops home," Trump said.
He said that the commitments to be made in Doha, and in the joint statement from Esper and the Afghan government are an "important step to a lasting peace" that could free Afghans from the threat of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State group.
Nevertheless, Trump added, "Ultimately it will be up to the people of Afghanistan to work out their future."
"We, therefore, urge the Afghan people to seize this opportunity for peace and a new future for their country."
The accord to be inked Saturday would see thousands of American troops quit Afghanistan after more than 18 years, in return for various security commitments from the Taliban and a pledge to hold talks with the government in Kabul.