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US Announces Partial Taliban Truce Amid Signs Deal Is Near

US Announces Partial Taliban Truce Amid Signs Deal Is Near”

Mr Pompeo said President Donald Trump had given the go-ahead for further talks.

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.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced Thursday that the USA and the Afghan Taliban "have negotiated a proposal for a seven day reduction in violence". "One thing I can tell you clearly is that the Afghan army, government and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation are working together- whether to go towards peace or to bring pressure on the enemy -and we also will assure our people that defending the past two decades of achievements is the responsibility of our army", Khaild said.

"We've said all along that the best, if not only, solution in Afghanistan is a political agreement", Esper told reporters in Brussels.

But they have been fraught with challenges, with Mr Trump declaring the talks "dead" in September.

"It will be a continual evaluative process as we go forward - if we go forward", said Esper.

"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.

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Mr Trump has made withdrawing USA troops from Afghanistan a key foreign policy aim.

There are some 12,500 USA troops in Afghanistan, as well as thousands of European forces participating in the NATO-led Resolute Support mission.

"I think we're very close", Trump said on a podcast broadcast on iHeart Radio when asked if a tentative deal had been reached.

Finally, the U.S. -Taliban talks themselves have been hard, but they are nothing compared to the complex peace, reconciliation and power-sharing negotiations to come between the Taliban, the Afghan government, and other Afghan political stakeholders.

"The United States and the Taliban have negotiated a proposal for a seven-day reduction in violence", Esper said. "They have to make real compromises around the negotiating table".

He is expected to meet with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Munich, a former senior Afghan official said on Wednesday.

Although the Taliban is negotiating with United States envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, it refuses to talk directly to Ghani's government, which it denounces as a puppet of the West.



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