Afghan Taliban drop more hints of openness to ceasefire

Afghan Taliban drop more hints of openness to ceasefire

The Afghan Taliban has again hinted at being amenable to a limited ceasefire deal with the United States to push peace negotiations over the line, but has stopped short of making an explicit offer.

The ceasefire proposal was revealed to Reuters by Taliban sources who said the insurgent group would be open to a 10-day truce with the foreign forces and a reduction of violence with the Afghan forces to facilitate a deal.

This is the second time in recent weeks that Taliban sources have hinted at a willingness to curb attacks in an effort to reach a peace deal with the United States. Earlier, on December 29, Taliban sources made similar statements. However, the group’s spokesman in Afghanistan, Zabihullah Mujahid, quickly denied those reports.

The Taliban spokesman in Doha, Qatar, where the group has a political office and the venue for the talks with the US, posted on Twitter that progress had been made and a deal would be signed “very soon”.

“The negotiators have had fruitful discussions yesterday and today … regarding the signing of an agreement and related ceremony,” Suhail Shaheen said on Friday.

However, Hekmat Azamy, deputy director at Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies in Kabul, told The National that the deal under discussion focused on a reduction of violence rather than a ceasefire.

“The discussions are still on and they are about a reduction of violence. The ceasefire is not agreed,” said Mr Azamy, who has been following the talks in Doha closely.

“There are a few discrepancies still being sorted out between the Taliban and Americans. But it is possible that the talks should wrap up and the deal may be signed sooner than expected,” he said.

Read full report on The National