US Announces Partial Taliban Truce Amid Signs Deal Is Near

The announcement came a day after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani reported "notable progress" in negotiations with the Islamist insurgents.

US Announces Partial Taliban Truce Amid Signs Deal Is Near

United States has secured of a seven-day reduction in violence in Afghanistan.

Brussels, Belgium:

The United States has secured of a seven-day reduction in violence in Afghanistan that it hopes will allow it to strike a deal with the Taliban, officials said Thursday.

The announcement came a day after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani reported "notable progress" in negotiations with the Islamist insurgents.

"The United States and the Taliban have negotiated a proposal for a seven-day reduction in violence," Defense Secretary Mark Esper said after a NATO meeting in Brussels.

"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."

Esper did not say when the partial truce would begin, but on Wednesday a Taliban official told AFP that the group would begin a "reduction of violence" on Friday.

"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," Esper said.

"So it will be a continual evaluative process as we move forward, if we go forward."

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."

"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."

Washington and the insurgents have been locked in gruelling talks that have stretched over more than a year, seeking an end to what has already become America's longest war.

'Long overdue'

Citing Afghan and US officials, the New York Times has reported that President Donald Trump had given conditional approval to a deal with the Taliban to allow him to start withdrawing US troops.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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