A week-long “reduction in violence” between the Taliban, the United States and Afghan security forces will begin at midnight on Friday, officials confirm.
The agreement struck during negotiations between US and Taliban representatives, if maintained, could secure a peace deal that would lead to a withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday that upon successful implementation of this agreement, the US would move to sign a peace deal with the Taliban on February 29.
Soon after Pompeo’s announcement, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed the development and said both sides will invite senior representatives to take part in the peace deal “signing ceremony”.
The Taliban’s statement also said the signing of the peace deal would be followed by intra-Afghan talks with various political parties in the country.
The Afghan armed group, which was removed from power in a US-led invasion in 2001, has previously refused to speak directly to the Kabul government, which it denounces as a “US puppet”.
Earlier, Javid Faisal, spokesman for Afghan National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib, said the reduction in violence (RIV) would start on Saturday.