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U.S. says the Taliban’s ‘reduction of violence’ to start tonight


ISLAMABAD (AP) — The countdown to the signing of a peace agreement between the Taliban and the United States to end the 18 years of war in Afghanistan will begin on Friday night, when the seven-day “reduction of violence” promised by the Taliban will go into effect, a senior U.S. State Department official said. The deal will be signed on Feb. 29.

The official did not specify the exact hour when the reduction of violence will commence. He spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the deal and its details.

After the seven-day reduction of violence, the long sought-after peace agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban will be signed on Feb. 29 in Doha, Qatar, paving the way for a withdrawal of U.S. troops and intra- Afghan negotiations, the official told The Associated Press. The Taliban had set up and maintained a political office in Doha in recent years, following the 2001 U.S.-led invasion that toppled their regime, which had harbored al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, in Afghanistan.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the peace agreement will also lead to an eventual permanent…


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