The Taliban’s ruling council has reportedly agreed to observe a brief ceasefire in Afghanistan amid ongoing talks with the US on a deal aimed at ending 18 years of war and restoring peace to the Asian country.
The Associated Press on Sunday evening quoted Taliban sources as saying on the condition of anonymity that the council has not yet decided when the truce will begin.
The duration of the ceasefire also remains to be specified, but it was suggested it would last for 10 days. The AP added in its report that the Taliban chief must now approve the temporary ceasefire agreement “but that is expected.”
According to the report, four members of the Taliban negotiating team had met for a week with the council before the agreement was reached.
The negotiating team returned on Sunday to Qatar, where the Taliban maintain a political office and where US representative for Afghanistan Zelmay Khalilzad has been holding peace talks with the militants’ negotiators since September 2018.
The negotiations does not include the Kabul government, which the Taliban view as illegitimate and a US puppet.
In September, the peace process in Doha came to a halt while both sides seemed close to a deal, with President Donald Trump declaring the talks with Taliban “dead” after the militant group killed a US soldier in a Kabul bombing.
Talks resumed after Trump made a surprise visit to Afghanistan at the end of November.
So far, there has been no immediate response from Washington regarding the temporary ceasefire with the Taliban. A ceasefire had been demanded by Washington before any peace agreement could be signed.
The Taliban had demanded that all foreign forces — US troops included — must leave Afghanistan and end the invasion of the country, which began in 2001 under the pretext of fighting terrorism.
Even as the Taliban is engaged in talks about ceasing hostilities, the militant group has kept up it attacks across Afghanistan.
Earlier on Monday, a Taliban raid killed at least 14 Afghan forces and injured five others in the northern province of Jowzjan, local sources said. Two government troops have also been missing since the attack took place.
Last week, the Taliban targeted a US convoy in a bomb attack in Afghanistan’s northern Kunduz Province, killing an American soldier.
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