US, Tale­ban reach Afghan truce deal

Khaleej Times - - FRONT PAGE - STEPS TO RE­DUCE VI­O­LENCE Reuters, AP

mu­nich — The United States has reached a re­duc­tion of vi­o­lence agree­ment with the Tale­ban that could lead to a US troop with­drawal from Afghanista­n, a se­nior ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial said on Fri­day.

The of­fi­cial told re­porters at a security con­fer­ence in Mu­nich that the seven-day pe­riod of a re­duc­tion of vi­o­lence has yet to be­gin. US Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo and De­fence Sec­re­tary Mark Esper met with Afghan Pres­i­dent Ashraf Ghani dur­ing the con­fer­ence on Fri­day.

The an­nounce­ment came a day af­ter US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said there was a “good chance” of reach­ing an agree­ment with the Tale­ban on a re­duc­tion of US troops in Afghanista­n.

The of­fi­cial, who was not au­tho­rised to pub­licly dis­cuss the mat­ter and spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymity, said the Tale­ban had com­mit­ted to a halt in road­side and sui­cide bomb­ings as well as rocket at­tacks. The of­fi­cial said the US would mon­i­tor the truce and de­ter­mine if there were any vi­o­la­tions. Should the Tale­ban com­ply,

BREAK­THROUGH: Mike Pom­peo with Ashraf Ghani in Mu­nich on Fri­day. —

the “re­duc­tion in vi­o­lence” agree­ment would be fol­lowed by the sign­ing of an agree­ment that would ini­ti­ate peace ne­go­ti­a­tions that in­clude all Afghan sides.

A Tale­ban of­fi­cial fa­mil­iar with the deal said that the se­cond agree­ment would be signed on Fe­bru­ary 29 and that the in­terAfghan di­a­logue would be­gin on March 10. The of­fi­cials said Ger­many and Nor­way have of­fered to host the talks. —

AFP

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