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Taliban leader agrees to 7-day reduction of violence

Kabul: Taliban leader Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada has agreed to a seven-day reduction of violence in Afghanistan on the condition that a peace deal with the US was signed, a media report said.

The Taliban leader has said that the reduction of violence in major cities of Afghanistan will be implemented once the US signs the peace deal, which must include a plan for the withdrawal of foreign forces, the TOLO News report said citing informed sources as saying on Wednesday.

According to the sources, if the reduction of violence was implemented, the Taliban would not attack cities, launch suicide attacks or block major highways.

Meanwhile, the Afghan government said that it has formed a senior coordination committee on peace.

President Ashraf Ghani in a decree has said that all actions and stances on peace should be carried out in coordination with the state Ministry on Peace Affairs.

“The committee which is led by the State Ministry on Peace Affairs will be coordinating efforts between 14 government entities involved in the peace process,” said Najia Anwari, spokeswoman for the State Ministry on Peace Affairs.

Meanwhile, Russia’s special envoy on Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov has said that the Taliban in principle have agreed on a ceasefire, TOLO News reported.

“They (the Taliban) in principle agreed for preliminary ceasefire even with the government, but after signing it will create environment for intra-Afghan talks including Taliban, because we believe Taliban are also part of Afghan society, they will start talking and they will work out new modalities for Afghanistan and there will be Afghan solution,” he added.

Marathon talks initiated between the US and the Taliban in October 2018 in Doha to find a negotiated settlement for Afghanistan’s lingering crisis, broke down in September following a Taliban-linked car bomb that killed 10 people including an American soldier in Kabul.

The talks resumed on December 7, 2019 but was again suspended in the wake of the Bagram attack.

It was reported earlier this week that the US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has been in Qatar over the past week and also held an informal meeting with the Taliban deputy leader Abdul Ghani Baradar.

Khalilzad will visit Kabul soon to share the Taliban’s plan for the reduction of violence with Afghan government leaders, according to informed sources.


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