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  • Ghani's tweet indicated a possible breakthrough in talks between the United States and the Taliban in Qatar

    Ghani's tweet indicated a possible breakthrough in talks between the United States and the Taliban in Qatar | Photo: Reuters

Published 11 February 2020
Opinion

Through Twitter, Ghani wrote that Pompeo had informed him in a phone call that the Taliban had proposed a solution "concerning bringing about a significant and lasting reduction in violence."

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said Tuesday that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told him that "remarkable progress" had been made in talks between the United States and the Taliban to achieve an agreement for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

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Through Twitter, Ghani wrote that Pompeo had informed him in a phone call that the Taliban had made a proposal "with regard to bringing about a significant and lasting reduction in violence."

"The Secretary informed me of the Taliban's proposal with respect to bringing about a significant and lasting reduction in violence," he continued, adding in another tweet, "This is a welcome development." 

Ghani, who did not reveal the details of the proposal, also said that "our main position on peace so far has begun to bear fruit."

Ghani's tweet indicated a possible breakthrough in talks between the United States and the Taliban in Qatar, which have stalled in part because of a U.S. demand that the insurgents agree to significantly reduce violence as part of any agreement to withdraw U.S. troops.

U.S. President Donald Trump has made the withdrawal of the 13,000 US service members from Afghanistan a primary foreign policy objective. An agreement with the Taliban could boost Trump's prospects for re-election in November.

The Afghan president had asked the Taliban to agree to a nationwide ceasefire, a demand Trump also made in September.

The Taliban, however, firmly rejected the demand, so at the talks that resumed in December in Qatar's capital, Doha, U.S. negotiators were attempting to negotiate a significant reduction in violence.

A former senior Afghan official with knowledge of the issue said, on condition of anonymity, that there has been "an agreement reached by all parties."

The former senior Afghan official also said the Taliban, who previously had proposed a limited reduction in violence, are eager to move forward with a deal, and U.S. negotiators understood that the insurgents would not accept a national ceasefire.

A U.S. troop withdrawal pact would be followed by talks between the Taliban and an Afghan delegation that would include government officials with eyes on a settlement to decades of war, U.S. officials have said.

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