The United States and the Taliban have reached agreement on a temporary truce that will take effect in the coming days and, if successfully completed, will lead to a formal cease-fire, the start of peace negotiations between all Afghan sides next month and the ultimate withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, a senior U.S. official said Friday.
The official said the agreement for a seven-day “reduction in violence” is “very specific” and covers the entire country, including Afghan government forces. There were indications a formal announcement could come as early as the weekend.
The official, who was not authorized to publicly discuss the matter and spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the Taliban had committed to a halt in roadside and suicide bombings as well as rocket attacks. The official said the U.S. would monitor the truce and determine if there were any violations.
Should the Taliban comply, the “reduction in violence” agreement would be followed by the signing of a second agreement between the United States and the Taliban. That agreement, culminating 16 months of talks, would initiate the peace negotiations and the withdrawal of U.S. troops.
A Taliban official familiar with the deal said the second agreement would be signed on Feb. 29 and the Afghan talks would begin on March 10. The official said Germany and Norway have offered to host the talks but there has been no decision on the venue.
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