US and Taliban reach ‘reduction of violence’ deal, official claims

The US has reached what an official called “a reduction of violence agreement” with the Taliban that could lead to an American troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, a senior administration official said Friday.

The official told reporters at a security conference in Munich that the seven-day period of a reduction of violence had not begun yet.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani during the conference on Friday.

The announcement came a day after President Trump said there was a “good chance” of reaching a deal with the Taliban on a reduction of US troops in Afghanistan.

An agreement on a major troop withdrawal would be a boost for Trump, who has repeatedly promised to stop “endless wars,” as he seeks re-election.

Trump last September had reached a tentative deal with the Taliban, and had invited their leaders to Camp David to negotiate.

But the plan fizzled after a US soldier was killed in Afghanistan and amid intense criticism of bringing the leaders of what the US considers a terrorist group to the presidential retreat.

The president at the time called the talks “dead.”

With Reuters

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