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Taliban offers temporary cease-fire: report

16 Jan 2020 TheHill

The Taliban say they have offered a temporary cease-fire to the United States in Afghanistan that would last between seven and 10 days, according to The Associated Press

The offer given to U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad would give U.S. troops the opportunity to pull out of the country. Khalilzad reportedly received the offer late Wednesday in Qatar where the Taliban run a political office.

It was not clear if the offer was enough to restart the peace talks that have been on and off for almost a year, the AP noted. But the offer could lead to both sides in the Afghanistan conflict talking about how to move forward to a future that would not include U.S. troops.

The Associated Press noted that the topics that would need to be resolved would include minority and women's rights, what to do about the Taliban fighters and how to handle militias who answer to warlords in Kabul.

The Taliban has been hesitant to declare a ceasefire for fear talks would fail. It then might be more difficult for the group to re-gather its fighters, a Taliban official told the AP. The official also said the Taliban did not want to give up their weapons because they think their fighting is "forcing the U.S. to come to the table.”

In the past, Khalilzad has said a deal with the Taliban would be the beginning of an agreement to establish a post-war Afghanistan, which would involve discussing controversial issues. The insurgency group has thus far denied the opportunity to speak with Afghanistan’s government.

Peace talks with the Taliban began February 2019 and were canceled by President Trump in September after Taliban attacks continued and killed a U.S. soldier. After Trump relented his stance, Taliban leadership said in December that they would offer a cease-fire.

Original Link: https://thehill.com/policy/international/middle-east-north-africa/478547-taliban-offers-temporary-cease-fire-report

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