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US, Taliban to reach deal on reducing violence

US, Taliban to reach deal on reducing violence

Kabul/Washington: The United States and the Taliban will sign an agreement on February 29 at the end of a week-long period of violence reduction in Afghanistan, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Taliban said on Friday.

Afghan, international and Taliban forces will observe the reduced violence period beginning at midnight (1930 GMT), an Afghan official and Taliban leaders said earlier.

"Following lengthy negotiations between the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and the United States of America, both parties agreed to sign the finalised accord in the presence of international observers," a Taliban spokesman said in a statement.

Both sides would also make arrangements for the release of prisoners, spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.

Separately, Pompeo said in a statement that the United States and the Taliban have been engaged in talks to facilitate a political settlement in Afghanistan and to reduce the US presence in the region.

The agreement will be signed upon the successful implementation of an understanding with the Taliban on a significant and nationwide reduction in violence, Pompeo added.

(image from abcnews.go.com)

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