On Thursday, the officials said that the United States has secured a seven-day reduction in violence in Afghanistan as it hopes will allow it to strike a deal with the Taliban. The development comes just one day after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani reported “notable progress” in negotiations with the Islamist insurgents.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said after a NATO meeting in Brussels, “The United States and the Taliban have negotiated a proposal for a seven-day reduction in violence.”
“We’ve said all along that the best, if not the only, solution in Afghanistan is a political agreement. Progress has been made on that front, and we’ll have more to report on that soon, I hope.”
However, Esper did not give much information about when the partial truce would begin. Still, on Wednesday, a Taliban official told sources that the group would begin a “reduction of violence” on Friday. Esper said, “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 again, conditions-based.”
“So it will be a continual evaluative process as we move forward if we go forward,” it added.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has taken flight to attend the Munich Security Conference, where he is expected to meet Ghani. He said to sources, “We hope we can get to a place where we can get a significant reduction in violence not only on a piece of paper but demonstrated, the capability to actually deliver a serious reduction in violence in Afghanistan,” he said.
“If we can get there, if we can hold that posture for a while, then we’ll be able to begin the real, serious discussion, which is all the Afghans sitting at a table, finding a true reconciliation, a path forward,” he added.