MUMBAI (Reuters) – Saturday is a “monumental day for Afghanistan”, the United States embassy in Kabul said on Twitter, just hours before the signing of a pact with Taliban Islamist militants that could bring an end to an 18-year war in the South Asian nation.

With preparations underway for the signing in Qatar’s capital of Doha, the embassy officials added, “It is about making peace and crafting a common brighter future. We stand with Afghanistan.”

Once the deal is signed Afghanistan, which has been at war since American bombings began in response to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, stands to see an end to violence that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

Reporting by Orooj Hakimi; Writing by Rupam Jain; Editing by Clarence Fernandez