After nearly two decades of endless warfare it seems like we are finally here; peace appears real and tangible. There have been many false dawns for the people of Afghanistan, but this moment’s significance is a weighty thing, it can be felt by all people of the region. As the United States signed a historic deal with the Taliban on Saturday in Doha – with representatives from the world watching from the sidelines – the ceremony and formality of the signing ritual lends credence to the notion that perhaps, at long last we have broken the deadlock.

The agreement goes to the heart of the deadlock; an immediate US troop reduction, followed by a complete withdrawal of all US, NATO and allied forces in the next 14 months. This is contingent on the Taliban sticking to their end of the bargain; a pledge to negotiate with the Afghan government for a political settlement, a ceasefire and an exchange of prisoners. If both sides stick to the ceasefire – and there is no reason to see what they would gain by not doing so – the war can be conclusively bought to a close.

As such, all countries that facilitated this peace process need to be commended for their commitment to cause of Afghan peace; Pakistan, which has been a key player in the talks and a direct stakeholder in the conflict, deserved special recognition for its continued efforts.

These efforts need to be continued, make no mistake. It may sound incredulous but the harder part only begins now; finding a power sharing agreement with the fractured Afghan government. The nuts and bolts of power sharing, coupled with the contentious issue of women rights, are still looming challenges on the horizon. However, the Taliban have indicated their willing to negotiate sincerely, claiming that they are not the hardline ruling regime of the 90s.

Despite future challenges, this is a historic day for the people of Afghanistan, and a reminder that negotiated peace is the only real solution to military conflicts.