Official says U.S. and the Taliban reach Afghan truce agreement

The United States and the Taliban negotiate a reduction of violence in 7 days Pentagon | News

US, Taliban negotiate 7-day reduction in violence: Pentagon

The secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said an important breakthrough had been made in peace talks with the Taliban in recent days, and the defence secretary, Mark Esper, said they had negotiated a proposal for a week-long reduction in violence.

Esper's remarks came after USA national security adviser Robert O'Brien said Tuesday he was "cautiously optimistic" there could be a peace deal over the next few days or weeks, but that a withdrawal of US forces is not "imminent".

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani during the conference on Friday.

US officials have not publicly spelled out their timetable for an initial drawdown of US troops in Afghanistan, but the expectation is that a reduction from the current total of about 12,000 to approximately 8600 will begin after the signing of a US-Taliban deal. And they noted that, despite Trump's campaign pledge to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan and elsewhere, the Republican president has nixed previous deals that appeared close in response to attacks on USA forces.

If the seven-day reduction in violence holds, a final U.S.

"The United States and the Taliban have negotiated a proposal for a reduction of violence in seven days", Esper told reporters in Brussels on Thursday, calling his meetings with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation colleagues "productive".

There was not any certainty among officials about what decreased hostilities might seem like at another phase of this peace process: the discussions between the Afghan sides following the United States and the Taliban sign their arrangement.

"I think we're very close", he told Geraldo Rivera's Roadkill podcast on Thursday (local time)".

A Taliban official familiar with the deal said the withdrawal of foreign troops would start gradually and would be phased over 18 months.

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"That doesn't mean we'll have one but we'll know over the next two weeks", Trump added.

USA troops patrol at an Afghan National Army (ANA) Base in Logar province, Afghanistan August 7, 2018.

"We are taking a hard look at it".

"The best if not only way forward is a political agreement", Esper said at the NATO Defense Ministerial Conference in Brussels.

"I think it also bears underscoring that [this process] upholds the human rights of all citizens, including the gains made in regards to women's rights and freedoms and leads to sustainable peace in Afghanistan".

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

USA officials have brushed aside claims that a Taliban ultimatum forced their hand.

That incident led the U.S.to dramatically ramp up its military pressure on the Taliban.

He also repeated a statement that carried with it a warning of USA might.

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