Taliban council agrees to cease-fire in Afghanistan

FILE – On this Dec. 25, 2019, file photograph, an Military carry crew strikes a switch case containing the stays of U.S. Military Sgt. 1st Class Michael Goble, at Dover Air Pressure Base, Del.. Goble, a U.S. Particular Forces soldier who died in Afghanistan this week, was seizing a Taliban weapons cache when he was killed, the U.S. navy stated Friday. (AP Photograph/Alex Brandon, File)

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban’s ruling council agreed Sunday to a short lived cease-fire in Afghanistan, offering a window by which a peace settlement with america may be signed, officers from the rebel group stated. They did not say when it might start.

A cease-fire had been demanded by Washington earlier than any peace settlement could possibly be signed. A peace deal would enable the U.S. to convey house its troops from Afghanistan and finish its 18-year navy engagement there, America’s longest.

The White Home stated it might haven’t any remark.

The U.S. desires any deal to incorporate a promise from the Taliban that Afghanistan wouldn’t be used as a base by terrorist teams. The U.S. presently has an estimated 12,000 troops in Afghanistan.

The Taliban chief should approve the cease-fire determination however that was anticipated. The period of the cease-fire was not specified however it was advised it might final for 10 days. It was additionally not specified when the cease-fire would start.

4 members of the Taliban negotiating crew met for every week with the ruling council earlier than they agreed on the temporary cease-fire. The negotiating crew returned Sunday to Qatar the place the Taliban preserve their political workplace and the place U.S. particular peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has been holding peace talks with the spiritual militia since September, 2018.

Talks have been suspended in September when each side appeared on the verge of signing a peace pact. Nevertheless, a surge in violence within the capital Kabul killed a U.S. soldier, prompting President Donald Trump to declare the deal “lifeless.” Talks resumed after Trump made a shock go to to Afghanistan on the finish of November saying the Taliban have been prepared to speak and comply with a discount in violence.

Khalilzad returned to Doha initially of December. It was then that he proposed a short lived halt to hostilities to pave the way in which to an settlement being signed, in line with Taliban officers.

Taliban officers acquainted with the negotiations spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of they weren’t licensed to talk to media retailers.

A key pillar of the settlement, which the U.S. and Taliban have been hammering out for greater than a yr, is direct negotiations between Afghans on each side of the battle.

These intra-Afghan talks have been anticipated to be held inside two weeks of the signing of a U.S.-Taliban peace deal. They may resolve what a post-war Afghanistan will appear to be.

The primary merchandise on the agenda is anticipated to handle how you can implement a cease-fire between the Taliban and Afghanistan’s Nationwide Safety Forces. The negotiations, nevertheless, have been anticipated to be prickly and can cowl quite a lot of thorny points, together with rights of girls, free speech, and modifications to the nation’s structure.

The intra-Afghan talks would additionally lay out the destiny of tens of 1000’s of Taliban fighters and the closely armed militias belonging to Afghanistan’s warlords. These warlords have amassed wealth and energy for the reason that Taliban have been ousted from energy in 2001 by the U.S.-led coalition. They have been eliminated after Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida carried out the 9/11 terrorist assaults on america. The Taliban had harbored bin Laden, though there was no indication they have been conscious of al-Qaida’s plans to assault america.

Even because the Taliban have been speaking about ceasing hostilities, insurgents carried out an assault in northern Afghanistan on Sunday that killed at the least 17 native militiamen.

The assault apparently focused a neighborhood militia commander who escaped unhurt, stated Jawad Hajri, a spokesman for the governor of Takhar province, the place the assault passed off late Saturday.

Native Afghan militias generally function in distant areas, and are below the command of both the protection or inside ministries.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed accountability for the assault.

Final week, a U.S. soldier was killed in fight within the northern Kunduz province. The Taliban claimed they have been behind a deadly roadside bombing that focused American and Afghan forces in Kunduz. The U.S. navy stated the soldier was not killed in an IED assault however died seizing a Taliban weapon’s cache.

The U.S. navy in its every day report of navy exercise stated airstrikes in a single day Sunday killed 13 Taliban in assaults all through the nation.

Taliban in addition to Afghan Nationwide Safety Forces aided by U.S. air energy have carried out every day assaults in opposition to one another

The Taliban steadily goal Afghan and U.S. forces, in addition to authorities officers. However scores of Afghan civilians are additionally killed within the cross-fire or by roadside bombs planted by militants. The United Nations has known as on all sides within the battle to scale back civilian casualties. The world physique stated elevated U.S. airstrikes and floor operations by Afghan Nationwide Safety Forces, in addition to relentless Taliban assaults, have contributed to a rise in civilian casualties.

Final yr, Afghanistan was the world’s deadliest battle.

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Gannon reported from Islamabad.

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