‘If Tal­iban re­duces vi­o­lence, U.S. may sign peace deal this month’

A Tal­iban spokesper­son says progress has been made

The Hindu - - WORLD - Reuters

A U.S.-Tal­iban peace deal could be signed this month if the Tal­iban sig­nif­i­cantly re­duces vi­o­lence, which could lead to an even­tual with­drawal of U.S. troops from Afghanista­n, two Afghan gov­ern­ment sources and a West­ern diplo­mat said on Wed­nes­day.

The ten­ta­tive time­line shared by sources came a day af­ter Afghan Pres­i­dent Ashraf Ghani said there had been a pos­si­ble break­through in U.S.-Tal­iban talks in Qatar.

The talks had been dead­locked in part over a U.S. de­mand that the in­sur­gents agree to sharply re­duce vi­o­lence as part of any Amer­i­can troop with­drawal ac­cord.

Suhail Sha­heen, a spokesman for the Tal­iban’s po­lit­i­cal of­fice in Qatar’s capital, Doha, said progress has been made, but re­fused to share fur­ther de­tails.

Doha talks

Doha has been the venue for talks be­tween the war­ring sides since 2018 even as fight­ing has con­tin­ued across the coun­try, killing hun­dreds of civil­ians and sol­diers as the Tal­iban have ex­panded their ter­ri­to­rial con­trol.

A third Afghan of­fi­cial said the U.S. has agreed in prin­ci­ple to a deal, but that it would not be signed un­til the Tal­iban could demon­strate a re­duc­tion in vi­o­lence (RIV). The deal could be signed as soon as this month, the of­fi­cial said, re­quest­ing anonymity.

A West­ern diplo­mat in Kabul said U.S. ne­go­tia­tors were work­ing on idea that the Tal­iban should agree on a re­duc­tion in vi­o­lence for at least 10 days with no ma­jor vi­o­la­tion.

“It is af­ter those 10 days of RIV that both sides can hold talks and firm up plans to hold in­tra-Afghan di­a­logue,” said the source, on con­di­tion of anonymity.

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