“The United States and the Taliban have negotiated a proposal for a seven-day reduction in violence,” Esper instructed reporters in Brussels on Thursday, dubbing his conferences with NATO colleagues “productive”.
“We’ve said all along that the best, if not the only, solution in Afghanistan is a political agreement. Progress has been made on that front and we’ll have more to report on that soon, I hope,” Esper stated.
Esper didn’t say when the partial truce would start.
“It is our view that seven days for now is sufficient but in all things our approach to this process will be conditions based, I will say it again, conditions based,” he stated.
The US and the Taliban have been locked in gruelling talks which have stretched over greater than a 12 months, in search of an finish to Afghanistan’s 18-year battle, the US’s longest battle.
Citing Afghan and US officers, The New York Times has reported that US President Donald Trump had given conditional approval to a cope with the Taliban to permit him to begin withdrawing US troops.
Sources say the partial truce might result in the signing of a US-Taliban peace deal that would see the US pull 1000’s of troops from Afghanistan, in return for which the Taliban would offer numerous safety ensures and launch eventual talks with the Kabul authorities.
There are about 13,000 US troops in addition to 1000’s of different NATO personnel in Afghanistan, 18 years after a US-led coalition invaded the nation following the September 11, 2001 assaults on the US.
“It will be a continual evaluative process as we go forward – if we go forward,” stated Esper.
SOURCE: Al Jazeera and information companies