The Untied States and Afghan Taliban will start a seven-day "reduction in violence" from Saturday on trial basis. (Photo Credit: Reuters/File)
The Untied States and Afghan Taliban will start a seven-day "reduction in violence" from Saturday and if successful, the two sides will sign the first phase of a deal aimed at ending decades of conflict. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo termed the development "important step on a long road to peace".
"After decades of conflict, we have come to an understanding with the Taliban on a significant reduction in violence across #Afghanistan. This is an important step on a long road to peace, and I call on all Afghans to seize this opportunity," Pompeo wrote on Twitter.
A week-long "reduction in violence" between the Taliban, the US and Afghan security forces will commence shortly, Afghanistan's National Security Council spokesman Javed Faisal told AFP on Friday. The partial truce will mark a historic step in more than 18 years of gruelling conflict in Afghanistan and would pave the way for a deal that could, ultimately, see the war end.
Pompeo said that intra-Afghan negotiations would begin shortly after the February 29 signing, expected to take place in the Qatari capital Doha. They will "build on this fundamental step to deliver a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire and the future political roadmap for Afghanistan," he said.
The US top diplomat said that challenges remain, but that progress made so far "provides hope and represents a real opportunity. The United States calls on all Afghans to seize this moment".
(With inputs from PTI)