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US and Taliban take first step toward a peace deal in Afghanistan

As per a senior Afghan official, but the violence reduction deal is intended as a test of whether a more lasting ceasefire might be possible

New Delhi: The United States and the Taliban have reached a deal that could be the start of ending America’s longest-running war.

A US official said, This is not a peace agreement, but rather something of a pre-agreement. The US and the Taliban have agreed to a seven-day “reduction in violence” pact.

According to the Wall Street Journal, it’s not clear when this deal will take effect, per NPR, or how it will be measured.

As per a senior Afghan official, but the violence reduction deal is intended as a test of whether a more lasting ceasefire might be possible. What a lasting ceasefire — specifically one between the Afghan government and the Taliban — might look like, and how it might be implemented, is much murkier.

If this reduction in violence is successful, the US and the Taliban could sign an agreement that leads to the gradual drawdown of the 12,000 US troops that remain in the country, which in turn would precipitate the Taliban and the Afghan government beginning formal negotiations on a political settlement.

“But how all it gets stitched together — if it does — isn’t clear,” James Cunningham, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and former ambassador to Afghanistan.

The US and the Taliban came close to a peace deal in 2019, which would have withdrawn US troops from the country and would have required the Taliban to publicly rescind its support for terrorist groups ties and enter into talks with the Afghanistan government over power-sharing. The Afghanistan government objected to being widely left out of these discussions and wanted a more permanent ceasefire with conditions.

In September, Trump said on Twitter that he halted peace talks after a Taliban attack in Kabul left one US service member and 11 other people dead. He said he had planned to fly Taliban leaders to Camp David for the signing before he made an about-face.

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