US announces week-long partial truce with Taliban

250

Brussels

The United States has secured a seven-day reduction in violence in talks to help seek a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan, Pentagon chief Mark Esper said on Thursday.
The announcement came as Nato defence ministers met in Brussels and a day after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani reported “notable progress” in negotiations with the militant insurgents.
“The United States and the Taliban have negotiated a proposal for a seven-day reduction in violence,” Esper told reporters, dubbing his meetings with Nato colleagues “productive.”
“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 said 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.—Agencies