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U.S., Taliban plan to sign accord after planned week-long 'reduction in violence'

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U.S., Taliban plan to sign accord after planned week-long 'reduction in violence'

By Abdul Qadir Sediqi and Jibran Ahmad

 

2020-02-21T180803Z_2_LYNXMPEG1K1CB_RTROPTP_4_USA-AFGHANISTAN-TALKS.JPG

FILE PHOTO: A general view of green zone in Kabul, Afghanistan March 13, 2019. Picture taken March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

 

KABUL/WASHINGTON/PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - The United States and the Taliban will sign an agreement on Feb. 29 at the end of a planned week-long "reduction in violence" in Afghanistan, U.S. officials and the Taliban said on Friday, stirring fresh hopes for an end to the protracted conflict.

 

The agreement could represent a chance for peace and a pullout of thousands of U.S. troops that have been in the country since U.S.-led forces ousted the hardline Islamist Taliban from power in 2001.

 

Previous attempts at negotiating peace agreements have been scuttled by Taliban attacks on international forces, most recently in December last year when an attack on a U.S. military base put talks on hold.

 

The reduction in violence (RIV), to be observed by Afghan, international and Taliban forces, will begin at midnight (1930 GMT) on Friday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said in a televised address.

 

Written instructions from the Taliban's leadership, shared with journalists, instructed all fighters to be on the defensive and to not travel to areas controlled by the Afghan government and international forces.

 

Instructions on what would happen after signing a deal with the United States after seven days would be shared later, the Taliban spokesman told fighters and commanders.

 

'SEIZE THIS MOMENT'

 

The United States and the Taliban have been engaged in talks aimed at a political settlement and reducing the U.S. presence in the region, U.S Secretary of State Pompeo said in a statement on Friday.

 

He urged all Afghans to "seize this moment".

 

Both sides would also make arrangements for the release of prisoners, spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.

 

The agreement will be signed in Doha between Taliban representatives and U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who has been leading the United States' negotiation team, a senior State Department official told journalists.

 

U.S. President Donald Trump, who has vowed to stop "endless wars" as he seeks re-election in November, has long sought to withdraw U.S. troops.

 

NATO, which currently has 16,000 troops in Afghanistan, welcomed Friday's announcement, calling the reduced violence a critical test of the Taliban's willingness to contribute to peace.

 

The U.N. Mission in Afghanistan also welcomed Friday's announcements.

 

U.S. and Taliban negotiators have been meeting in Doha since 2018 even though fighting has raged in Afghanistan and thousands of civilians and combatants have been killed as the insurgents have expanded territory under their control.

 

"We hope the reduction in violence is extended for a longer time and opens the way for a ceasefire and intra-Afghan talks," Javid Faisal, spokesperson for the Afghan National Security Adviser, told Reuters.

 

The Taliban have previously refused to speak directly to the Kabul government, which they denounce as a U.S. puppet.

 

NOT A 'CEASEFIRE'

 

One Taliban leader based in Doha told Reuters that the reduction in violence could not be called a "ceasefire".

 

"Every party has the right of self-defence but there would be no attacks on each other’s positions in these seven days,” the Taliban leader said.

 

Afghan forces will keep up normal military operations against other groups such as Islamic State during the period, Afghan spokesman Faisal said.

 

He added that Afghan forces would also retaliate against the smallest violation by the Taliban.

 

"Local government and security officials have been instructed by the president himself on how to follow the regulations agreed upon for the RIV period," he said.

 

Officials privy to the talks had said last week that an agreement with the Taliban would be followed by negotiations on an intra-Afghan political settlement between the Taliban and an Afghan delegation that would include government officials.

 

Members of the Afghan delegation have yet to be announced. Reaching a consensus on members could pose a challenge with fresh political uncertainty in Afghanistan after Ghani was declared last week as the winner of a disputed 2019 presidential election.

 

His political rivals, whose representatives expect to be included in the intra-Afghan talks, rejected the election result and announced that they would form their own government.

 

(Reporting by Abdul Qadir Sediqi, Humeyra Pamuk, Jibran Ahmad, Rupam Jain, Bhargav Acharya and Kanishka Singh; Additional reporting by Foo Yun Chee in Brussels; Writing by Gibran Peshimam; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan, Frances Kerry and Nick Macfie)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-02-22

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Hope it works for all sides and is another win for Trump, but I'm sure the leftist trolls will be here soon to put their negative spin on it as will the mainstream Democrat propaganda media.

Edited by muzley
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Sign the piece of paper. Pull out the US forces. And then get ready for all hell to break out. And the result for two decades of an American presence in Afghanistan will be trillions spent, massive deaths, and a country in ruins. Way to go, GWB.

Edited by zydeco
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as the new york times publish the aims of the terrorist Haqqani who has a 15 million dollar price tag on his head, you can't make this **** up...

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4 hours ago, muzley said:

Hope it works for all sides and is another win for Trump, but I'm sure the leftist trolls will be here soon to put their negative spin on it as will the mainstream Democrat propaganda media.

I would give it 72 hours before Taliban reverts back to normal operations.

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4 hours ago, Bluespunk said:

Let’s hope all those who have worked with and for the western powers, along with every single member of their families who want it, are given immediate and condition free asylum in the nations they helped. 

The Americans as well as all other Khufar ( Western) forses betrayed their Afghan helpers . ( as the US did with all their Vietnamese helpers at the end of the Vietnamese war: just die ! ) 

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As the Taliban said, decades ago: foreign soldiers may all have watches, but.. we have the time..

So, just a few weeks to go, and the CEO of USA Inc. decides the losses were enough  so will quit the subsidery in Afghanistan ( the allies let the Americans fight this defence for women already quite some time ago) . The Taliban will start to kill everyone, who ever was on the sides of the Western powers, then every women, who dared to get some education. Women, who dare to go outside their house without their owner will be punished with lashes or worse , and all must wear the tent again, Hell for women on earth will be opened again.

The rest of the world will continue doing what they did from day one after the Nürnberg and Tokio war crimes tribunals… NOTHING.

foreign children, who cares, America First.jpg

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I trust the taliban as much as i trust trump.

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8 hours ago, muzley said:

Hope it works for all sides and is another win for Trump, but I'm sure the leftist trolls will be here soon to put their negative spin on it as will the mainstream Democrat propaganda media.

I too hope his is successful but your disdain for the left is just pathetic,

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8 hours ago, zydeco said:

Sign the piece of paper. Pull out the US forces. And then get ready for all hell to break out. And the result for two decades of an American presence in Afghanistan will be trillions spent, massive deaths, and a country in ruins. Way to go, GWB.

His buddies problably planned it to steal from America. Added debt to China

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8 hours ago, zydeco said:

Sign the piece of paper. Pull out the US forces. And then get ready for all hell to break out. And the result for two decades of an American presence in Afghanistan will be trillions spent, massive deaths, and a country in ruins. Way to go, GWB.

 

This all sounds like a likely replay of the U.S. exit from Vietnam... so-called peace with honor... and you know what came after that.... a lot of death and misery for the Vietnamese for a long time.

 

Unfortunately, two decades from now, I don't really envision the Taliban turning Afghanistan into what Vietnam has become today, despite its continuing Communist government.

 

Taking over the country in a bloody assault leading to the collapse of the current Afghan government and a return to Taliban rule, that I would expect. Just waiting for Trump to haul out his "Mission Accomplished" banner after the U.S. is gone and the Taliban are back to controlling Afghanistan.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Sujo said:

I trust the taliban as much as i trust trump.

 

That's a tough one... The more I weigh the choices, I end up being ambivalent between the merits of the two choices.

 

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