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Week-long ‘reduction in violence’ in Afghanistan to begin on Saturday

Week-long ‘reduction in violence’ in Afghanistan to begin on Saturday

A week-long “reduction in violence” between the Taliban, the US, and Afghan security forces will commence at midnight (1930 GMT), officials said on Friday, ahead of the signing of a possible deal between Washington and the insurgents. “The reduction in violence will start from 22 February and will last for one week,” according to Javed Faisal, Afghanistan’s National Security Council spokesman.

Three senior Taliban leaders in Doha and Afghanistan confirmed to Reuters that they had agreed to reduce violence in Afghanistan for seven days from Friday night.

The agreement was struck during protracted negotiations between US and Taliban representatives, which began in Qatar in 2018 and could lead to a withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.

A reduction in violence would show the Taliban can control their forces and demonstrate good faith ahead of any signing, which would see the Pentagon withdraw about half of the 12,000-13,000 troops currently in Afghanistan.