Taliban agree to temporary ceasefire in Afghanistan

29 December 2019, 20:45 | Updated: 29 December 2019, 20:49

The Taliban have agreed to a ceasefire which could help end US involvement in Afghanistan
The Taliban have agreed to a ceasefire which could help end US involvement in Afghanistan. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

The Taliban has agreed to a temporary ceasefire in Afghanistan to help boost the odds of striking a peace deal with the United States.

Afghanistan has taken one step closer to striking up a peace agreement with the US following the move, which could lead to American troops ending their 18-year deployment in the Middle-Eastern nation.

The temporary window would allow Washington to disengage with the country that the USA invaded shortly after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center in 2001.

American officials want to ensure that any agreed deal includes a promise from the Taliban that Afghanistan would not be used as a training base by terrorist groups.

There are currently about 12,000 US troops based in the country.

The duration of the ceasefire, which is expected to be ratified by the Taliban chief, has not been confirmed but it is thought it will last for roughly 10 days.

US troops have been in the Middle-Eastern nation for 18 years
US troops have been in the Middle-Eastern nation for 18 years. Picture: PA

A Taliban negotiating team met with the group's ruling council for a week prior to agreeing on the peace window. Shortly after, on Sunday, they returned to their political office in Qatar.

Direct negotiations between Afghans on both sides of the conflict are vital for the success of any prospective agreement.

Those talks would likely be held within two weeks of a US-Taliban peace deal, which has been in the making for more than a year.

They will probably decide what a post-war Afghanistan will look like, and what role the Taliban will play.

A wide range of issues will be covered in the negotiations. These would include the rights of women, free speech and the fate of tens of thousands of Taliban fighters.

The temporary ceasefire had been proposed by US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad during the last round of talks.

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