Published: Sun, February 16, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

Afghan president hopeful a US-Taliban peace deal could come within days

Afghan president hopeful a US-Taliban peace deal could come within days

The official said the Taliban had committed to a halt in roadside and suicide bombings as well as rocket attacks.

But he added, "you're not going to find an answer to this question unless you engage in the peace process".

A senior USA official said on Friday the United States and the Taliban have reached a truce agreement that will take effect very soon and could lead to withdrawals of American troops from Afghanistan.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has reportedly been skeptical of the proposal, and he can't agree with other political leaders in Afghanistan over who will lead the final stages of the process between Afghanistan and the Taliban.

Afghan, Taliban and USA sources said over the last 48 hours that a deal to curb violence was on the verge of implementation.

If the US and Taliban sign an agreement, they will have achieved several breakthroughs.

The truce marks a milestone in efforts to end America's longest-running conflict and fulfil U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign pledge to bring troops home from foreign conflicts.

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The United States would meanwhile maintain a monitoring presence in the Middle Eastern country.

According to the statement, President Ghani will begin "a series of consultations" with the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, the civil society and political groups next week to make them aware of the details of the peace talks developments and to discuss opportunities and possible risks.

Stoltenberg said the adjustment was under the condition that the Taliban radical group is able to demonstrate both the willingness and capability to reduce violence and commit to peace.

The new developments came as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark Esper met Friday with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on the sidelines of an global security forum in Munich.

Should the Taliban comply, the reduction in violence agreement would be followed by the signing of an agreement that would initiate peace negotiations that include all Afghan sides.

Word broke Friday of a possible move toward a peace agreement in Afghanistan that would at long last allow most remaining USA forces to come home - emphasis, sadly, on possible. For Pakistan, the Afghan government and Washington have allowed the TTP to gain a foothold in the country in a so-called "tit for tat" move to punish Islamabad for its ties with the Afghan Taliban. The drawdown is expected to continue over 18 months, but the US official would not discuss the issue nor would he confirm reports a residual force would remain in Afghanistan for an indefinite period to undertake counterterrorism missions.

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 USA envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has conducted the talks with the Taliban, complaining about being kept in the dark.

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