US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, shakes hands with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani,during the 56th Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Munich, southern Germany, on Friday, Feb. 14, 2020. The 2020 edition of the Munich Security Conference (MSC) takes place from Feb. 14 to 16. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool photo via AP)
The United States and the Taliban have agreed to a temporary truce that, if successful, would open the way for a deal that would bring American troops home from Afghanistan and end 18 years of war.
The peace deal would call for negotiations between Afghans on both sides of the conflict to start next month, an eventual countrywide cease-fire and a commitment from the Taliban not to harbor terrorist groups like al Qaida, while setting a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops.
The truce marks a milestone in efforts to end America’s longest-running conflict and fulfill President Donald Trump’s campaign pledge to bring U.S. troops home from foreign conflicts. But prospects for a real and lasting peace remain unclear.
Details were provided separately Friday by a senior U.S. official and a Taliban official, who were not authorized to publicly discuss the matter and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The U.S. official said the agreement for a seven-day “reduction in violence” is “very specific” and covers the entire country, including Afghan government forces. There were indications a formal announcement could come as early as the weekend.
The official said the Taliban had committed to a halt in roadside and suicide bombings as well as rocket attacks. If the Taliban uphold their commitments, a U.S.-Taliban peace agreement would be signed within 10 days.