Published: Fri, February 14, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

U.S. announces partial Taliban truce amid signs deal is near

U.S. announces partial Taliban truce amid signs deal is near

Esper said during a news conference. During a surprise visit to a USA military base in Afghanistan in November, Trump said the Taliban "wants to make a deal".

"We've said that the best-if not only-solution in Afghanistan is a political agreement".

"We are taking a hard look at it".

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said allies supported US efforts to negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban.

The U.S. and Taliban have a proposed agreement to reduce violence in Afghanistan for seven days, which would open the door to a historic deal on the U.S. military presence there, according to U.S. and Taliban officials.

"It is our view that seven days for now is sufficient but in all things our approach to this process will be conditions based, I will say it against, conditions based", he said.

Esper, during a press conference in Brussels, said that if the process goes forward there would be continuous evaluation of any violence.

"'This year like other years we don't have any concerns about any location that will be under Taliban threats -we will follow our priorities", Khalid added.

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The Pentagon chief made the remarks following two days of meetings with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies in Brussels, where leaders are considering the proposal. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani tweeted that he had received a phone call from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo telling him of "notable progress" in the talks with the Taliban.

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One senior Afghan official briefed about the talks said the expectation was that following the one-week test interval, there shouldn't be a return to further strikes, and that the situation may perhaps more closely resemble a cease-fire.

At Munich, the USA and Afghan leaders will likely focus on finalizing just how violence reduction is defined, how it's monitored and how long it would have to last for the U.S.to sign a deal with the Taliban, according to Michael Kugelman, the Wilson Center's lead Afghanistan specialist. "If we go forward".

After the seven-day reduction, the two sides would sign the overall agreement and kick-start intra-Afghan negotiations. "This time around will be longer and a lot more complex", Kugelman said.

They have previously said a ceasefire could blunt their battlefield momentum if the US or Kabul renege on their promises.

-Taliban agreement would likely include calls for a permanent cease-fire, a drawdown of American forces in Afghanistan, and a framework for direct talks between the Taliban and the USA -backed government in Kabul, which the Taliban thus far has refused to recognize or engage with directly.

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