Historic step in the Afghanistan peace deal between US and Afghan Taliban

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Historic step in the Afghanistan peace deal between US and Afghan Taliban

*KABUL: *A week-long “reduction in violence” between the Taliban, the US, and Afghan security forces will commence shortly, an official said Friday, ahead of the signing of a possible deal between Washington and the insurgents.

“The reduction in violence will start from 22 February and will last for one week,” Javed Faisal, Afghanistan’s National Security Council spokesperson, told AFP.

The Taliban did not immediately respond to requests for comment, and US-Forces declined to comment.

If the partial truce goes ahead, it would mark a historic step in more than 18 years of gruelling conflict in Afghanistan and would pave the way for a deal that could, ultimately, see the war end.

The United States has for more than a year been in talks with the Taliban for a deal in which it would pull out thousands of troops in return for a set of Taliban security guarantees and commitments.

A reduction in violence would show the Taliban can control their forces and demonstrate good faith ahead of the deal, which would see the Pentagon withdraw about half of the 12,000-13,000 troops currently in Afghanistan.

The US and the Taliban have been tantalisingly close to a deal before, only to see President Donald Trump nix it in September at the 11th hour amid continued insurgent violence.

Afghan officials have said the US-Taliban deal could be signed February 29 in Doha, assuming the planned lull in violence proceeds to plan.

But any truce comes fraught with danger, and analysts warn the attempt to stem Afghanistan’s bloodshed is fraught with complications and could fail at any time.

Or, worse still, they say warring parties could exploit a lull to reconfigure their forces and secure a battlefield advantage. - APP / AFP

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