Representatives of the United States and the Taliban who participated in the signing of a landmark agreement in Qatar in February avoided calling it a „peace agreement.“ On July 1, 2020, the U.S. House Armesd Services Committee voted overwhelmingly in favor of amending the National Defense Authorization Act to limit President Trump`s ability to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan.   Continued violence on both sides remains an obstacle to a final peace agreement. During the preliminary talks, the Taliban continued to fight on the battlefield and launched terrorist attacks in the capital and also threatened the 2019 Afghan presidential elections on September 28.  According to U.S. Air Force statistics released in February 2020, the United States dropped more bombs on Afghanistan in 2019 than in 2013.  In February 2019, a new round of talks took place in Qatar, this time with Baradar in the Taliban delegation – he had been released by Pakistan in October 2018 at the request of the United States.   Khalilzad stated that this round of negotiations was „more productive than in the past“ and that a draft peace agreement had been concluded. The agreement included the withdrawal of U.S. and international troops from Afghanistan and the Taliban, which did not allow other jihadist groups to operate inside the country.  Despite these problems, a peace agreement preventing Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for international terrorism would allow the United States to withdraw its troops and reduce its security and development assistance, which exceeded $800 billion between 2001 and 2019.
An agreement is particularly desirable, as the United States focuses on competition with China and Russia and the United States is addressing the budgetary pressure exerted by the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). Polls show that the Afghan people were willing to make some compromises for peace. But many question whether the Taliban can be held accountable for what they have promised. They also fear losing the important achievements of international engagement in Afghanistan, such as women`s empowerment, increased freedom of expression and a more vibrant press.