Seven-day reduction in violence in Afghanistan to begin, USA announces

A partial truce in Afghanistan could be a step towards the withdrawal of US troops seen here at the site of a suicide bomb attack in 2015

Taliban says agreement with US to be signed Feb 29 in front of international observers

"The Afghan security forces will remain on active defence status during the week".

The New York Times published an opinion piece Thursday by Sirajuddin Haqqani - the deputy leader of the Taliban who is now wanted by the United States government - drawing criticism from one of the paper's own reporters.

The truce, to be monitored by American forces, will likely be fragile and USA officials have noted the possibility that "spoilers" uninterested in peace talks could disrupt it.

U.S. officials were not immediately available for comment.

US troop deployment and death toll in Afghanistan since 2001. Updated

Foreign Office (FO) has welcomed the announcement made by United States (US) and Taliban to agree on signing a peace deal for Afghanistan on February 29, ARY News reported on Friday.

The agreement struck during negotiations between the USA and Taliban representatives, if maintained, could secure a peace deal that would lead to a withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan. He claimed that that negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government would "start soon thereafter".

"We look forward to the signing of the agreement on 29 February 2020", the statement read.

However, the road ahead is fraught with difficulties. The Afghan election commission earlier this week declared President Ashraf Ghani the victor of the presidential elections held in September but his rivals quickly denounced his win.

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

It comes after Taliban, Afghan and U.S. forces agreed a weeklong "reduction in violence". It is "very specific", according to a senior administration official, including prohibiting roadside bombs, suicide bombs and rocket attacks.

The Taliban had previously refused to talk directly to the Kabul government, led by President Ashraf Ghani, which they denounced as a USA puppet.

The peace deal also calls for the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners, most of whom are being held in jails run by the Afghan government.

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We got close once before to having an agreement: "a piece of paper that we mutually executed and the Taliban were unable to demonstrate either their will or capacity or both to deliver on a reduction in violence", he told reporters in Uzbekistan.

"Pompeo's statement did not say who would represent Kabul but only that "'intra-Afghan negotiations will start soon" after the signing in Doha "and will build on this fundamental step to deliver a comprehensive and permanent cease-fire and the future political road map for Afghanistan". Pakistan still hosts more than 1.4 million Afghan refugees.

"It will be an important event for the peace process in Afghanistan", Moscow's Afghanistan envoy, Zamir Kabulov, told the state news agency RIA Novosti, adding that he would attend the signing ceremony if invited.

The spokesman Faisal said that Afghan security forces would continue normal operations against other terrorist groups, such as Islamic State, and would respond if the Taliban violated the RIV agreement. The long war has exacted a bad cost from everyone.

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"I am confident that, liberated from foreign domination and interference, we together will find a way to build an Islamic system in which all Afghans have equal rights, where the rights of women that are granted by Islam - from the right to education to the right to work - are protected, and where merit is the basis for equal opportunity", he said.

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