Speaking to reporters at the White House on Monday, US President Donald Trump asserted that his country had done a "great job" in its fight against terrorism in Afghanistan, and said it was now time for other countries to play their part. "We've done a great job in terms of getting rid of terrorists. Now it's up to other countries to get rid of those terrorists," Trump told reporters.
Responding to questions, Trump reiterated that the US was pulling out its troops from Afghanistan. "We are getting out. We want to get out. We had good meetings with the Taliban. And we are going to be leaving, and we're going to be bringing our soldiers back home. We've been there for almost 20 years. It's a long time," Trump said.
President Trump and his Afghanistan counterpart Ghani spoke over the phone on Sunday. Trump congratulated Ghani on the recent steps taken towards achieving peace in the war-torn country, according to a White House statement.
"The two leaders agreed that Saturday's announcement of the United States-Afghanistan Joint Declaration and the Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan were important milestones for the Afghan peace process," the release said.
Meanwhile, in an interaction with Pentagon reporters, Defence Secretary Mark Esper said the peace deal signed with the Taliban in Doha over the weekend was a conditions-based agreement. "The peace deal is an important first step towards a political solution to end the war in Afghanistan, he said.
Esper said that the US was watching the Taliban's actions closely to assess whether they were upholding their commitments. "Our expectation is that the reduction in violence would continue. It would taper off until we get inter-Afghan negotiations which would ultimately consummate in a ceasefire," Esper said.
He also reitrated that the US would adhere to the spirit of the agreement signed in Doha on Saturday and begin reducing US troops in Afghanistan quickly.
A US top general, meanwhile, cautioned not to expect an immediate halt to violence in Afghanistan, after three people were killed in a bombing in the eastern part of the country. "I would caution everybody (not) to think there's going to be an absolute cessation of violence in Afghanistan... To think that it is going to go to zero, immediately -- that's probably not going to be the case," he told reporters. "We don't know exactly who did that yet," said General Mark Milley, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, two days after the United States signed a peace deal with the Taliban.
After 18 years of war, the US and the Taliban signed a landmark deal in Doha on February 29 to bring lasting peace in war-torn Afghanistan and allow US troops to return home from America's longest war. Under the pact signed, the US has agreed to reduce its troops in Afghanistan from 13,000 to 8,600 in the next 130 days and withdraw all its soldiers in 14 months. The deal is a result of three years of hard negotiations between the two sides where the Taliban portrayed to have an upper hand.