Taliban agrees to ceasefire in Afghanistan to allow for possible US peace deal, reports

Taliban agrees to ceasefire in Afghanistan to allow for possible US peace deal, reports

The Taliban’s ruling council agreed on Sunday to enforce a temporary ceasefire across the whole of Afghanistan in a move praised by experts as a “major step forward”.

While it is unclear when the ceasefire would begin, AP reported the temporary cessation of hostilities would last 10 days.

It is hoped the period will allow the signing of a peace agreement between the US and Afghanistan.

Graeme Smith, a senior consultant at International Crisis Group told The National that the plan had been approved by Taliban leaders in Doha, where the Taliban has its office.

It was under consideration by the senior members of the insurgent group in Quetta, Pakistan, Mr Smith said.

He said leaks from negotiators indicated that the deal was similar to that worked out by the US and the Taliban earlier in 2019.

“The leaks sound like in keeping with the theme we’re hearing, a copy-paste version of the same deal scuppered in September but with greater emphasis on reduction of violence,” Mr Smith said.

Year-long talks between the Taliban and Washington came to an abrupt halt in September after US President Donald Trump called off the negotiations.

Mr Trump’s decision followed a deadly attack by the insurgent group on compound in the Afghan capital of Kabul, in which a US soldier died.

Discussions between the parties restarted in November, reviving hope for an end to the conflict.

There has been no US response to the Taliban’s announcement.

In Qatar, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen has said on Twitter that media reports of the ceasefire were “unverified”.

Mr Shaheen said any information about the truce would be released properly at the right time.

If the truce were successfully enforced, it would be the second time a country-wide ceasefire has been implemented in Afghanistan since the US invasion of the country in 2001.

Read full report on The National