Afghanistan war: Taliban-US truce countdown begins in bid to end 18-year conflict
There will be a week-long 'reduction of violence' before a planned agreement is signed in Doha, Qatar.
However, Kabul has made no public announcement about the release.November 2019: Trump serves troops a meal in AfghanistanAfter nearly two decades of war the path to peace will not be an easy one, and PresidentDonald Trump's reputation is heavily on the line.
Mr Pompeo said:"The only way to achieve a sustainable peace in Afghanistan is for Afghans to come together and agree on the way forward."This may prove more difficult as the Taliban has refused to talk to Afghan president Ashraf Ghani's government after he was declared the winner earlier this week of September's election.
His rivals and the Taliban quickly denounced his re-election despite the government being considered key to finding lasting peace in the country.Image:Nato has soldiers in Afghanistan supporting US troopsGermany and Norway have both offered to host the intra-Afghan talks, but no venue has yet been set.
The seven-day"reduction of violence" covers all of Afghanistan and also applies to Afghan forces, as well as the US and the Taliban.They have all committed to end attacks for that period, which for the Taliban includes roadside bombings, suicide attacks and rocket strikes.
December 2019: Taliban commander places down ceasefire hopesUS peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has led the negotiations with the Taliban since September 2018 and has been key to the latest developments.Mr Trump made removing US troops from Afghanistan a central tenet of his 2016 presidential campaign so if a peace deal is signed he can claim to have made good on his promise.
Image:The Taliban has denounced the re-election of Afghan president Ashraf GhaniHowever, if it fails, Mr Trump risks being branded naive by Democrats, and willing to sacrifice the security of US soldiers for the sake of getting his pledge done and dusted.
The Pentagon would not say whether the US had agreed to cut the number of troops in Afghanistan to zero, however the Taliban's spokesman said it expects a complete withdrawal. Read more: Sky News »
ChavaStacy In 2009, 8 years after the invasion, more than half of Afghanis still supported the Taliban. This led to a massive covert effort to 'sanitize' statistics and portray the Taliban as unpopular. ChavaStacy Most media are reporting simply that an agreement will be signed in week. SkyNews has a history of publishing inaccurate stories fed to it by 'sources' to cover upcoming political surprises. Smart money says the SkyNews story is to cover for some escalation in Afghanistan soon.
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