US, Taliban reach agreement to reduce violence

Elias Hubbard
February 16, 2020

In exchange, the Taliban would agree to stop transnational terrorist groups from operating in Afghanistan - their sheltering of Al Qaeda is what prompted the US -led invasion of Aghanistan in 2001 that resulted in their loss of power - and to enter into talks with the Afghan government and other power brokers. "We're going to know over the next two weeks".

Taliban leaders, who have historically rejected President Donald Trump's past attempts for talks "want an agreement", one administration official told the Free Beacon.

He said Saturday that a "reduction in violence" agreement between the United States and the Taliban in Afghanistan "looks very promising".

In this meeting, Ghani said the only goal of the Afghan government is to end the war and violence in order to ensure a lasting peace in the country.

"We have agreed to a number of things we would not do as well and (the Taliban) have agreed to a number of things".

In September 2019, Trump's special envoy to Afghanistan announced that a peace deal had been reached pending the president's final approval, only for Trump to walk away from the deal and cancel the talks after an American soldier died in a Taliban attack. The United States has briefed its allies on the truce proposal. This applies to the Taliban and Afghans. Details about when that was set to begin were not immediately clear but a Taliban official said it would be this week.

The number one concern throughout this process has been the elimination of terrorism and preventing Afghanistan from becoming a platform that threatens the USA and its allies.

A previous round of negotiations led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his lead negotiator, Zalmay Khalilzad, fell apart in September after the president proposed bringing senior Taliban leaders to Washington, D.C., for a signing ceremony against the opposition of some of his top foreign policy advisers, including former national security adviser John Bolton.

"We are not leaving Afghanistan but we are prepared to adjust our force level if the Taliban demonstrates the will and the capability to reduce violence and make real compromises that could pave the way for negotiations among Afghans for sustainable peace", he said.

Moreover, the US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in an address at the Munich Security Conference stated that a political agreement is the best option to end violence in Afghanistan.

The accord, if it holds, could pave the way for an agreement by the end of the month on a USA troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, a long-sought objective for United States president Donald Trump, who has vowed to stop the "endless wars" as he seeks re-election in November.

The U.S. has upwards of 12,000 troops in Afghanistan conducting operations in support of Ghani's forces, as well as conducting a broader anti-terror mission.

The U.S. -Taliban deal is expected to include the withdrawal of a few thousand American troops within months.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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