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US-Taliban talks appear closer to breakthrough

12 Feb 2020 Kabul Now

The peace deal between the US and the Taliban reaches closer to a breakthrough as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said there has been a ‘notable progress’ in peace negotiations.

The US-Taliban peace settlement began nearly half a year ago to end America’s longest war. The US government opened direct talks with the Taliban negotiators to discuss a political settlement with the Taliban militants who as yet have been fighting against what they call American invasion of Afghanistan.

The two sides are trying to reach a deal which is expected to yield withdrawal of US forces from the country. The insurgents, in return, will open direct talks with the Afghan government.

“Today, I was pleased to receive a call from @SecPompeo, informing me of the notable progress made in the ongoing peace talks with the Taliban. The Secretary informed me about the Taliban’s proposal with regards to bringing a significant and enduring reduction in violence,” President Ghani wrote in a tweet, early on Wednesday, February 12.

The optimism by President Ghani is expressed while earlier the Afghan government was insisting on ceasefire as a pre-condition to enduring peace settlement, something the Taliban negotiators have hitherto refused to accept.

The Taliban have agreed to bring ‘reduction in violence.’

In his annual State of the Union address on February 04, US President Donald Trump his said that his administration was working to end America’s longest war and bring US troops back home.  

Citing officials, the New York Times, has reported that Trump would give a final approval to talks conditioned on the Taliban adhere to ‘reduction of violence’.

The Afghan peace process is complex. The US-Taliban peace deal was on the brink of a breakthrough in September 2019, but Trump abruptly halted it.                     

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