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Nationwide ceasefire expected next week

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KABUL: Two former Taliban officials say that a nationwide truce would be announced by next week as the US and Taliban negotiators have gained a peace deal.

Sayed Akbar Agha, a former Taliban commander said Saturday that the truce would long for 10 days and would coincide with the peace deal between the US and the insurgents.

Agha said that Taliban were offered by the US envoy for Afghan peace Zalmay Khalilzad to accept a 10-day long ceasefire, and the militants are consulting with their leadership whether to accept the offer.

“The US and Taliban have got close to the peace deal,” said Agha.

He said Taliban would likely accept the ceasefire offer, but have not yet finalized their decision.

“The nationwide ceasefire would begin at the same time that the US and Taliban sign the deal.”

“Right now, Taliban leadership are consulting on the ceasefire,” said another former Taliban official, Maulavi Qalamoddin.

He said that the 10-day ceasefire would be announced next week.

Khalilzad restarted talks with Taliban after a three-month delay, but announced a pause some 10 days back. The intra-Afghan negotiations and ceasefire are the main subjects of this round of Khalilzad-Taliban talks. The two sides are said to have temporarily stopped talks to consult their leaders.

Khalilzad came to Kabul this week after a one-day trip to Pakistan, meeting with President Ghani. He tweeted that the talks was approaching an important part of peace, calling Ghani meeting “fruitful”.

Sohail Shahin, Spokesman for Taliban’s Political Office in Qatar, said that the intra-Afghan talks would begin after peace deal with the US.

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