Week-long Afghanistan ‘reduction in violence’ starts Saturday: Official

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A week-long “reduction in violence” between the Taliban, the US, and Afghan security forces will commence shortly, an official said 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,” Javed Faisal, Afghanistan’s National Security Council spokesman, told AFP.

Officials privy to the talks had said last week that an agreement with the Taliban would be followed by negotiations on an intra-Afghan political settlement between the Taliban and an Afghan delegation that would include government officials.

The Taliban have previously refused to speak directly to the Kabul government, which they denounce as a US puppet.

Afghan forces will keep up normal military operations against other terrorist groups, such as ISIS, during the RIV period, Faisal said, adding that Afghan forces will also retaliate to the smallest violation of the understanding by the Taliban.

“Local government and security officials have been instructed by the president himself on how to follow the regulations agreed upon for the RIV period,” he said.

US officials were not immediately available for comment.

US and Taliban negotiators have been meeting in Doha since 2018 even though fighting has raged in Afghanistan and thousands of civilians and combatants have been killed as the insurgents have expanded their territorial control.

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