UN Security Council endorses US-Taliban peace deal

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The UN Security Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a United States’ resolution on the recent deal between the US and the Afghan Taliban, a rare endorsement of an agreement with a militant group.

The US military has begun withdrawing troops as part of the pullout agreed in the February 29 pact with the Taliban.

In the resolution, the Security Council “urges the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to advance the peace process, including by participating in intra-Afghan negotiations through a diverse and inclusive negotiating team composed of Afghan political and civil society leaders, including women.”

The United States is keen to end its longest-ever conflict, and under the terms of a deal signed in Doha last month has said all foreign forces would quit Afghanistan within 14 months - provided the Taliban stick to their security commitments.

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Some diplomats expressed unease that the agreement included two secret appendices on the fight against terrorism that Council members approved without knowing what they say.

The UN resolution came with Afghanistan in political crisis, following the double swearing-in on Monday of President Ashraf Ghani and his rival and former chief executive Abdullah Abdullah, both of whom claimed victory in last year’s presidential election.

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