KABUL -- Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry said on February 18 that a reduction in violence agreed between Taliban fighters and the United States is due to begin during the next five days.
The announcement comes a day after Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah told a meeting of government ministers that the Taliban had agreed to a seven-day reduction of violence ahead of a peace deal with the United States that was “finalized” a week earlier and may be signed as soon as February 29.
A Taliban spokesman based in Qatar, where peace talks with U.S. negotiators have been underway, said an agreement had been reached and “will be signed” before the end of February.
"According to the agreement, all foreign troops will leave Afghanistan," Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said on February 17. "We will not allow anyone to use Afghanistan's land [to launch attacks] against another country."
Some 5,000 Taliban prisoners are to be released following the signing of the agreement and before the beginning of intra-Afghan negotiations, Shaheen said.
The New York Times reported last week that President Donald Trump had given his “conditional” approved of a peace deal.
The newspaper reported that Washington wants the Taliban negotiators in Qatar to prove they hold sway over Taliban fighters in remote parts of Afghanistan by ordering the seven-day reduction in militant violence before the peace deal is formally signed.
Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, AFP, dpa, tolonews.ro, and New York Times