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Qureshi: Taliban 'Ready for Reduction in Violence'

16 Jan 2020 Tolo News

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in a video message on Thursday said that Afghanistan and Pakistan "need stability," and "good progress" has been made as the Taliban shows “they are ready for a reduction in violence.”

Qureshi said that negotiations have continued between the US and Taliban, and Pakistan wants progress toward peace as both countries "have a need for peace.”

Pakistan has played its role, he said, and he “hopes that the entire region will seek peace.”

India’s chief of defense staff, General Bipin Rawat, on Thursday said that he supported a negotiated peace deal between the US and Taliban in Afghanistan.

“I think the negotiations must last to peace and it should not be temporary measure to find an exit,” he said, adding that “today the Afghan defense forces need support, they need technology, they need air support.”

Gen. Rawat, who was speaking along with other world leaders at the Raisina dialogue organised by India's influential think-tank Observer Research Foundation (ORF), said that terrorism was going to stay in the world as long as states were going to use it against other states.

“It was important to prevent states from using terrorism as a 'proxy war.' The only way to deal with it was what the US did post 9/11," he said, adding that the war against terror was necessary. However, "now a peace deal with Taliban is required,” he said. 

TOLOnews quoted sources on Wednesday saying that Taliban leader Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada has agreed to a seven-day reduction in violence in Afghanistan on condition that a peace deal is signed.

The Taliban leader reportedly said that the reduction of violence in major cities of Afghanistan will be implemented once the US signs the peace deal, which must include a plan for the withdrawal of foreign forces, the sources said, quoting Taliban officials.

According to the sources, if the reduction of violence is implemented, the Taliban will not attack major cities, will not launch suicide attacks and will not block major highways.

On Thursday, AP reported that the "Taliban have given the US envoy a document outlining their offer for a temporary cease-fire in Afghanistan that would last between seven and 10 days," citing "Taliban officials familiar with the negotiations." 

The offer is seen as an opportunity to open a window to an eventual peace deal for Afghanistan that would allow the United States to bring home its troops and end the 18-year war, America’s longest conflict, AP said.

The cease-fire offer was handed to Zalmay Khalilzad, Washington’s envoy for talks with the insurgents, late on Wednesday in Qatar, a Gulf Arab country where the Taliban maintain a political office, according to the AP report.

The report said: Khalilzad has been pressing for a ceasefire but it wasn’t immediately clear whether the Taliban proposal would be enough to allow for the on-again off-again talks between the Taliban and the US to restart, with the aim of eventually signing a peace deal.

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