Taliban reach week-long violence reduction pact

Clay Curtis
February 16, 2020

The reduction in violence would prohibit the Taliban from conducting roadside bomb, rocket and suicide attacks, according to ABC. "We're going to know over the next two weeks".

US President Donald Trump said on Thursday that an agreement was "very close".

The Taliban has rejected the notion of holding direct peace talks with the Afghan government headed by President Ashraf Ghani, and has rebuffed the idea of a broader nationwide ceasefire.

Meanwhile, according to the statement, the German foreign minister said his country is ready to support the Afghan government and the US's efforts for peace in Afghanistan.

Mr Ghani, whose administration has at times been frustrated at being shut out of talks between the USA and Taliban, mostly conducted in Doha, insisted he was "on the same page" as Washington.

"The Taliban leadership have little interest in acquiring office or seeking resources", Sayed Madadi, a political analyst now working for the Afghan government, wrote in a recent commentary. If the Taliban uphold their commitments, a U.S. -Taliban peace agreement would be signed within 10 days.

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Mr Trump's comments were the latest indication of significant progress in negotiations that the United States and the Taliban have been holding since December in Qatar.

A previous round of negotiations led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his lead negotiator, Zalmay Khalilzad, fell apart in September after the president proposed bringing senior Taliban leaders to Washington, D.C., for a signing ceremony against the opposition of some of his top foreign policy advisers, including former national security adviser John Bolton. Details about when that was set to begin were not immediately clear but a Taliban official said it would be this week.

Moreover, the US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in an address at the Munich Security Conference stated that a political agreement is the best option to end violence in Afghanistan.

The U.S. conflict in Afghanistan began shortly after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. "It would also give us the opportunity to reduce the footprint not only for America's forces there but for all forces". "If we decide to move forward, if all sides hold up - meet their obligations under that reduction in violence then we'll start talking about the next part, whether to move forward", he said.

To make good on its promise to release Taliban prisoners, Washington is going to need the co-operation of Ghani, who has been critical of the way US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has conducted the talks with the Taliban, complaining about being kept in the dark. Arguably, the United States wouldn't be averse to any such collaboration as long as Pakistan stays committed to delivering a peace deal in Afghanistan.

In the past, policymakers in Pakistan have accused US and Afghan forces of not doing enough to target TTP fighters in Afghanistan.

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