Pakistan on Saturday welcomed the signing of the US-Taliban peace deal aimed at ending the 18-year-long war in Afghanistan.

The US inked a landmark deal with the Taliban earlier in the day in Doha, Qatar, laying out a timetable for a full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan within 14 months.

The agreement is expected to lead to dialogue between the Taliban and the Kabul government, seeking an end to the armed conflict that began in 2001.

In a statement, Pakistan's premier Imran Khan termed the accord "start of a peace & reconciliation process to end decades of war & suffering of the Afghan people."

"I have always maintained that a political solution, no matter how complex, is the only meaningful path to peace," Khan tweeted.

Without naming any country or group, Khan urged all stakeholders to ensure "spoilers are kept at bay."

"My prayers for peace for the Afghan people who have suffered 4 decades of bloodshed. Pakistan is committed to playing its role in ensuring the agreement holds & succeeds in bringing peace to Afghanistan," Khan added.

Pakistan was represented in the ceremony by the country's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

Qureshi said the agreement carried immense importance -- both in symbolism and substance -- for Afghanistan, the region and beyond.

"The Peace Agreement reflected a significant step forward by the US and the Taliban in advancing the ultimate aim of peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan," he said in a statement.

India's response

New Delhi, in a brief response to the pact, said it will continue extending "all support" to Afghanistan.

"India's consistent policy is to support all opportunities that can bring peace, security and stability in Afghanistan; end violence; cut ties with international terrorism; and lead to a lasting political settlement through an Afghan led, Afghan owned and Afghan controlled process," Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs was quoted as saying.

Kumar said his country will continue to extend all support to the government and people of Afghanistan in "realizing their aspirations for a peaceful, democratic and prosperous future where the interest of all sections of Afghan society are protected."

UN chief welcomes US-Taliban peace deal

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed a peace deal signed between the US and Taliban on Saturday that seeks to achieve a lasting solution to the Afghan war. 

Two landmark conferences in Qatari capital of Doha and Kabul of Afghanistan saw historic decisions made regarding the fate of war-ravaged Afghanistan. The deal lays out a timetable for a full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Guterres said those conferences "mark important developments," according to his spokesman, Stephane Dujarric.

"The Secretary-General stresses the importance of sustaining the nationwide reduction in violence, for the benefit of all Afghans," said Dujarric in a statement. "He encourages continued efforts by all parties to create an enabling environment for the intra-Afghan negotiations and a comprehensive peace process."

The agreement is expected to lead to talks between the Taliban and the Kabul government in a bid to pave the way for an end to the 18-year conflict.

The UN chief expressed hope that an inclusive Afghan-led process with participation of women and youth will help Afghan people's aspirations to be realized.

Guterres "reiterates the commitment of the United Nations to supporting the people and Government of Afghanistan," Dujarric concluded.

Under the accord, Taliban have agreed not to allow al-Qaeda, Daesh or any other militant group to operate in the areas they control.

The US and its allies, after an initial reduction of troops from roughly 13,000 to 8,600 within 135 days, will move towards a complete withdrawal within 14 months.

At the height of the war, which started weeks after the September 2001 attacks in New York, Afghanistan had more than 100,000 American troops and tens of thousands of others from the US-led NATO coalition.

The deal also provides for a prisoner swap, and the U.S. lifting sanctions against the Taliban.