Winston Peters calls agreement between United States, Taliban a 'major step forward'

Foreign Minister Winston Peters says the US-Taliban peace agreement is a major step forward, as the government considers the implications for New Zealand troops.

The US and the Taliban signed the peace agreement today in an effort to end more than 18 years of conflict.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters described the agreement as a major step forward and said it signalled the start of negotiations between the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan.

He said it may take some time before it was clear what would happen with New Zealand's troop deployment to Afghanistan.

Waikato University law professor Alexander Gillespie said the potential peace treaty was the same precedent as ending the Vietnam war, and a huge deal.

"It's great that we've got to this point so far. We have spent literally trillions of dollars, there have been hundreds of thousands of lives lost and all we've achieved after 18 years of fighting is that Taliban's agreed that Al Qaeda and similar groups like Islamic State will not be resident in Afghanistan anymore."

Prof Gillespie said it set a very clear road map for the more than 3800 Coalition troops in the area, including 10 soldiers from New Zealand.

"It's a two-step process, it's the Coalition troops will slowly be drawn down but in exchange there will be formal recognition of the Taliban, sanctions will be lifted, and they will start negotiations directly with the Afghanistan government."

He said the deal could lead to New Zealand's troops exiting, depending on the result of negotiations.

RNZ

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