Pompeo hails breakthrough in US-Taliban talks
Friday - February 14, 2020 7:23 am , Category : WORLD
Washington, Feb 14 (IANS) US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said there has been a "pretty important breakthrough" in peace talks with the Taliban in recent days.Defence Secretary Mark Esper earlier said they had "negotiated a proposal" for a week-long reduction in violence. The two sides have long been engaged in negotiations aimed at ending the 18-year war in Afghanistan.But they have been fraught with challenges. President Donald Trump declared the talks "dead" in September.On Thursday, Pompeo said the US president had given the go-ahead for further talks. He hailed recent progress, but said the negotiations were complicated and that a peace deal had not yet been reached, the BBC reported."We hope we can get to the place where we can get a significant reduction in violence, not only on a piece of paper," he said. "If we can get there and we can hold that posture for a while, we may well be able to begin the serious discussion which is all the Afghans sitting at a table finding a true reconciliation."His comments came after Esper told reporters about the proposal for a "seven-day reduction in violence"."We've said all along that the best, if not only, solution in Afghanistan is a political agreement. Progress has been made on this front and we'll have more to report on that soon," he said. "It will be a continual evaluative process as we go forward - if we go forward."Details about when the partial truce was set to begin were not immediately clear, but a Taliban official told a leading media outlet that the group would begin a "reduction of violence" on Friday.Trump has made withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan a key foreign policy aim. Some 13,000 US troops remain in Afghanistan after the US intervention to oust the Taliban in 2001.