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US-Taliban Peace Talks Raise Hope for Partial Cease Fire

It has been more than 18 years of rage and violence, yet peace in Afghanistan has remained a myth. However, just like the regular old pattern, US is claiming that calm is on its way. In another development on the US-Taliban peace talks, it has been informed that both sides are agreeing to a partial week-long ceasefire in Afghanistan.

The standing that is eventually linked with inviting broader peace prospects, whilst withdrawal of at least some US troops from the region. The settlement clause from both sides is being negotiated in Qatar and is reportedly close. The Associated Press reported that two Taliban officials said that they would walk away from peace talks if seven-day “reduction of violence” was not accepted.

However, that is not the case with the US President Donald Trump, who is more than happy to see his troops return home. But the condition is that Taliban delivers on the plan and maintains cease fire. The US national security advisor, Robert O’ Brien, said he was “cautiously optimistic that some good news could be forthcoming”.

“The president had made it very clear that there will have to be a reduction in violence and there will have to be meaningful intra-Afghan talks for things to move forward,” O’Brien told the Atlantic Council think-tank on Tuesday.

According to the sources, the partial ceasefire would eventually lead to a formal agreement between US-Taliban, and the nation would then be able to call back its troops staged in Afghanistan. Donald Trump has been an accomplice as far as repatriation of troops is considered. And he is especially eager to mark huge progress, as the US 2020 elections approach.

However, experts in Afghanistan have dismissed the strategy and proposed that US might handover a propaganda coup to the Taliban, as little surety remains about bloodshed. “It’s frankly ludicrous. It’s snowing. Who wants to go fighting when it’s snowing?” said Michael Semple, a former EU special representative to Afghanistan. “The Taliban haven’t changed anything, they are all merrily preparing for the spring offensive,” he added.

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, went ahead and called the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, and his main rival, the government’s chief executive, Abdullah Abdullah, to inform about the progress. Ghani who seemed happy with the progress, called it a ‘welcome development’ in his tweet.

The US-Taliban peace talks nearly went ahead in September last year, before Donald Trump made public that he had cancelled the signing ceremony in the wake of Taliban’s attack in Kabul. Meanwhile, Taliban has also denied negotiation with Ghani government, stating that it would only broker if the government talks about broader political issues.

As known, there are about 20,000 NATO troops guarding the Asian country, of which 60 per cent belong to the US. And pentagon has said that about 20 per cent of those could come back, even if there is no deal with the Taliban.

The risk with withdrawal of troops is immense. And just in case US-Taliban falter to reach terms, the militia organization would become relatively stronger, while US would unwantedly invite more bloodshed for civilians and also solidify the fact that no peace plan exists for Afghanistan.

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