FRONT PAGE NEWS
1 March 2020
US, TALIBAN SIGN DEAL, NATO TO EXIT AFGHANISTAN IN 14 MONTHS
At a ceremony in Qatar that was also attended by an Indian diplomat, the
United States signed an agreement with the Taliban on Saturday, agreeing to
withdraw entirely from Afghanistan in the next 14 months. The deal to end 19
years of war is, however, fraught with risks and uncertainties, and poses
many questions on the way forward.
The pact for "bringing peace to Afghanistan" was signed by Zalmay Khalilzad,
US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, and Mullah Abdul
Ghani Baradar, the political head of the Taliban, at the Sheraton hotel in
In the audience was India's Ambassador to Qatar, P Kumaran, who attended the
ceremony along with US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo and a 31-member
As had been expected, Mullah Baradar especially named Pakistan for its
assistance, and also thanked China, Iran, and Russia for supporting the
peace process in Afghanistan. Also expectedly, he did not name India.
According to the joint declaration, the US and its allies will withdraw all
their forces from Afghanistan within 14 months. After an initial reduction
of troops to 8,600 within 135 days of Saturday's signing, the US and its
partners "will complete the withdrawal of their remaining forces from
Afghanistan within 14 months. and will withdraw all their forces from
remaining bases", the declaration stated.
TURKEY RAISES MIGRANT PRESSURE ON EUROPE
Turkey on Saturday threatened to allow tens of thousands of refugees to
leave for Europe and warned Damascus will "pay a price" as President Recep
Tayyip Erdogan stepped up pressure after dozens of Turkish troops were
killed inside Syria.
At the Turkish border, Greek police clashed with several thousand migrants
who were already gathered at the entrance into EU territory.
Young migrants lobbed rocks at Greek riot police as tear gas wafted through
the trees on the frontier.
Turkey and Russia, which back opposing forces in the Syria conflict, held
talks to try to defuse tensions triggered after the Turkish troops were
killed, sparking fears of a broader war and a new migration crisis for
Europe. But Erdogan raised the stakes on Saturday and vowed to allow
refugees to travel to Europe from Turkey which he said can not handle new
waves of people fleeing Syria.
SOUTH CAROLINA PRIMARY: JOE BIDEN ON COURSE FOR LARGE WIN
Former US vice-president Joe Biden has been handed a huge boost in the race
to challenge Donald Trump in November's election.
He is set for a large victory in South Carolina's primary, where voters have
been picking who they want to be the Democratic nominee for the election.
Left-winger Bernie Sanders, who is second in South Carolina, is likely to
remain in the lead overall.
Another 14 states vote on Super Tuesday this week.
By the end of Super Tuesday, it could become much clearer who the nominee
will be. South Carolina is only the fourth state to have voted so far in the
months-long primary season.
This is Mr Biden's first ever victory in a primary in what is his third run
for US president. In a victory speech, he said: "Just days ago the press and
the pundits had declared this candidacy dead. Now, thanks to all of you -
the heart of the Democratic Party - we just won, and we've won big."