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Americans consulting on Taliban’s reduction in violence plan, says former Taliban official

AT News

KABUL: The US officials are consulting on a plan offered by Taliban in which the insurgents have vowed to reduce violence in big cities of Afghanistan, despite rejecting US ceasefire demand, said Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, ambassador to Pakistan in Taliban’s government.

Meanwhile, the government of Afghanistan emphasizes on the ceasefire, rejecting any other schemes as opposition to the peace efforts, according to former Taliban officials and those familiar with the Taliban-US negotiations.

The peace negotiations are said to have been reached a crucial stage, and political analysts believe that Ghani administration’s insistence on ceasefire would hinder the total process and would cause continuation of war.

The US envoy for Afghan peace Zalmay Khalilzad started negotiations with Taliban representatives in Qatar in September 2018. The sides have so far sat for 10 rounds to discuss ways to end America’s longest war.

Taliban are urging the US withdrawal from Afghanistan as the main condition to peace. Washington in return wants the militants not to let international terrorist networks use Afghan soil to threaten their security.

In the latest round of talks, Khalilzad asked Taliban to observe ceasefire ahead of holding negotiations with the government of Afghanistan. The insurgents did not agree with the demand, but promised to reduce violence.

Zaeef told Kabul News on Monday that the US diplomats were consulting Taliban leadership’s offer over violence reduction, but said however, it was unclear when and where the peace deal would be signed.

Former President, Hamid Karzai on Sunday called on his successor Ghani not to insist on the ceasefire as an excuse, saying the reduction of violence was a big step towards peace.

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