Washington and Taliban militants have reportedly agreed on a seven-day violence reduction in Afghanistan. If upheld, it could open doors for another deal that would see US troops withdraw after 19 years of conflict.
The news came as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Pentagon chief Mark Esper met Afghan president Ashraf Ghani on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference to discuss the situation in the war-torn country. Both earlier hinted at some developments in negotiations with the Taliban, which Pompeo described as a “pretty important breakthrough.”
US President Donald Trump said on Thursday that an agreement was “very close.” Unnamed US State Department officials confirmed to various media outlets on Friday that a “violence reduction” accord has indeed been reached.
The deal apparently stops short of calling a full-fledged truce, focusing only on some particular activities instead. Yet it is also described as a “very specific” and is said to involve all sides, including the Afghan army, not just the US and the Taliban. It also reportedly covers roadside bombs, suicide attacks and rocket launches. The US military will be monitoring the situation to verify if the deal is upheld.