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Weeklong 'Reduction In Violence' To Start On February 22, Says Afghan Official

21 Feb 2020 Gandhara - RFE/RL

A weeklong "reduction in violence" between the Taliban and U.S. and Afghan security forces will begin at midnight local time, a senior Kabul official said on February 21, ahead of the signing of a possible deal between Washington and the insurgents.

"Based on the plan, the reduction in violence (RIV) will start between the Taliban and international and Afghan security forces for one week," Javed Faisal, Afghanistan's National Security Council spokesman, was quoted as saying.

U.S. officials and the Taliban spokesperson were not immediately available for comment.

The announcement came after Sirajuddin Haqqani, the deputy leader of the Taliban and one of the world's most wanted militants wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times on February 20 in which he said the Afghan militants were "fully committed" to a deal with Washington.

Haqqani doubles as head of the Haqqani network, a U.S.-designated terrorist group that is one of the most dangerous factions fighting Afghan and U.S.-led NATO forces in Afghanistan

Earlier this week, Suhail Shaheen, a Taliban spokesman based in Qatar, where peace talks with U.S. negotiators have been under way, said that an agreement had been reached and "will be signed" before the end of February.

The New York Times reported last week that President Donald Trump had given his "conditional" approval to the peace deal.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP​

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