Friday, 21 February, 2020


Taliban Deal Hinges on Diminishing Violence. It Could Work Like This

US, Taliban negotiate 7-day reduction in violence: Pentagon US announces partial Taliban truce amid signs deal is near
Bennie Garza | 14 February, 2020, 03:53

U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said Thursday that the United States and the Taliban have negotiated a proposal for a seven-day reduction in violence.

"The United States and the Taliban have negotiated a proposal for a seven-day reduction in violence", Esper told reporters during a news conference in Brussels at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters. "Our approach, as always, is conditions based, so it will be an evaluative process as we go forward―if we go forward".

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi (R) meets US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad, Pakistan, on January 31, 2020.

"The United States and the Taliban have negotiated a proposal for a seven-day reduction in violence", Esper said.

Pompeo said earlier this month that the United States wanted "demonstrable evidence" that the Taliban can and will reduce violence before signing a deal that would lead to Afghanistan peace talks and a withdrawal of American troops from the country.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking to reporters on board a plane to the Munich Security Conference where he is expected to meet Ghani, said talks had "made real progress over the past couple of days".

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.

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.

Last month the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, a U.S. government agency, assessed that there had been a record-high number of attacks by the Taliban and other anti-government forces in the last three months of 2019.

Originally, the Taliban agreed simply that it wouldn't attack important population centers, but US negotiators pushed for a broader cessation of violence.

"Given the messy Afghan political situation, including a prolonged election crisis and deep rivalries between powerful factions", Kugelman said, "it's going to be a tall order to launch much less conclude a successful peace process resulting in a power-sharing deal with the Taliban".

"Because when we train and support the Afghan forces with training, but also with funding, we are helping the Afghans to send a very clear message to Taliban that they will never win on the battlefield", he added. "This time around will be longer and a lot more complex", Kugelman said.

A senior Afghan defence official said Kabul was ready to continue fighting if the talks collapse.

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