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Afghanistan hails progress in talks between US, Taliban

US Secretary of State informed president about Taliban proposal to bring ‘significant and enduring reduction in violence’. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday welcomed the “notable progress” made in ongoing peace talks between the U.S. and the Taliban.

Ghani said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had informed him by phone about the Taliban’s proposal “with regards to bringing a significant and enduring reduction in violence.”

“This is a welcoming development, and I am pleased that our principal position on peace thus far has begun to yield fruitful results. Our primary objective is to end the senseless bloodshed,” Ghani tweeted.

“To do so, the Afghan people stand with us with their full consensus, and I assure them that their leadership maintains the courage, competence and the necessary resources to achieve this objective.

“The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan will manage the next steps in a manner that positively supports the overall peace process and will report to the public,” added Ghani, who was previously unhappy over being sidelined in the talks.

In inching towards a likely deal in Afghanistan, the U.S. and the Taliban’s proposed pact hinges pretty much on whether the insurgents skip announcing yet another spring offensive this year, a Kabul-based western diplomat told Anadolu Agency.

The latest development comes as the top U.S. peace envoy, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, who is the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, concluded his shuttle diplomacy tour of Pakistan and Afghanistan this week and headed back to Doha, Qatar to continue the marathon round of talks with the Taliban behind closed doors.

When contacted, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed told Anadolu Agency it was “too early to say something about the spring offensive. We will decide about it at that time. There is time.”

In September last year, U.S. President Donald Trump canceled a proposed peace deal with the insurgents at the last minute over the killing of a U.S. soldier in the Afghan capital Kabul.

According to non-classified figures from the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission, at least 20 U.S. soldiers were killed in Afghanistan in 2019.

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