Seven-day Period of ‘Reduced Violence’ to Begin Tonight in Afghanistan
Unnamed officials from Afghanistan’s government and the Taliban say a week-long limited truce will begin at midnight local time on Friday as a way of reducing tensions prior to possible peace talks. A general agreement on a seven-day “reduction in violence” was announced by an American official last week on the sidelines of an annual security conference in Munich. There was no official confirmation from the Taliban following that announcement, but the Reuters news agency is now quoting what it calls “three senior Taliban leaders” who have confirmed Friday’s midnight start-time, although one preferred not to call it a ceasefire. “Every party has the right of self-defense, but there will no attacks on each other’s positions in these seven days,” the Taliban official stated. “It is to create a security environment in Afghanistan and can be extended if things go well….” The US official speaking in Munich said that a successful seven-day period could lead to peace talks and an eventual withdrawal of US-led foreign forces. A spokesman for Afghanistan’s national security adviser said that during the period of reduced violence, the government would not be constrained from carrying out military operations against other hostile groups, such as Islamic State.