US and Taliban reach reduction of violence agreement -US official

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Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani speaks about the release of two senior Taliban commanders and a leader of the Haqqani militant group in exchange for an American and an Australian professor who were kidnapped in 2016, in Kabul, Afghanistan November 12, 2019 (photo credit: AFGHAN PRESIDENTIAL PALACE /HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

An agreement that leads to a major US troop withdrawal could be a political boost for Trump, who has repeatedly promised to stop “endless wars” as he seeks re-election in November.

By REUTERS   FEBRUARY 14, 2020 20:15

MUNICH – The United States has reached agreement with the Taliban on a weeklong reduction of violence that could lead to a US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, a senior administration official said on Friday.The official told reporters at a security conference in Munich the seven-day reduction of violence agreement had yet to begin.

The announcement followed a meeting between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani during the conference on Friday. It came a day after U.S. President Donald Trump said there was a “good chance” of reaching an agreement with the Taliban on a reduction of U.S. troops nearly two decades after the U.S.-led invasion.

An agreement that leads to a major US troop withdrawal could be a political boost for Trump, who has repeatedly promised to stop “endless wars” as he seeks re-election in November.The senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the reduction of violence agreement covers the entire country and also applies to Afghan forces, even though the Afghan government has been excluded from the talks between the United States and Taliban in Qatar.”

The reduction of violence agreement is very specific. It’s nationwide and it includes the Afghans,” said the official, adding that it applies to “everything. Roadside bombs, suicide bombs, rocket attacks is all written out.”

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