Donald Trump 'approves conditional peace deal with Taliban'

US seeking to announce a deal with Taliban as soon as this week, officials say

Ghani's tweet indicated a possible breakthrough in talks between United States and Taleban negotiators, who have been deadlocked in part over a U.S. demand that the insurgents agree to significantly reduce violence as part of any American troop withdrawal accord.

In a post on Twitter, Ghani that Pompeo had informed him in a telephone call that the Taleban had made a proposal "with regards to bringing a significant and enduring reduction in violence".

A Taliban source in Pakistan told AFP that insurgent and USA negotiators would meet again on Wednesday in Doha. The New York Times reported, citing Afghan and US officials, that US President Donald Trump had given conditional approval to a deal with the Taliban.

'It is after those 10 days of RIV that both sides can hold talks and firm up plans to hold intra-Afghan dialogue, ' the source said on condition of anonymity.

The Taliban have refused, saying they first want agreements in place that would be guaranteed by global powers such as Gulf Arab states, Russia, China and the United Nations, before agreeing to a permanent cease-fire.

A US-Taliban agreement on the "reduction in violence" in Afghanistan is expected to be announced "very soon", the group's official has said. The meeting, insurgent sources say, could lead to the announcement of a deal to de-escalate battlefield violence between Taliban and US -led foreign troops as a first step toward the signing of a final peace deal. The Taliban has since waged a deadly insurgency, and it now controls or contests almost half of Afghan territory. The potential peace deal comes as a first-of-its-kind report from the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction reveals that thousands of people have been killed or wounded during the reconstruction process.

Pompeo spoke of "the notable progress made in the ongoing peace talks with the Taliban", Ghani tweeted.

Unending violence: A suicide attack in Kabul on Tuesday was only the latest in Afghanistan's long conflict. They have previously said a cease-fire could blunt their battlefield momentum if the US or Kabul renege on their promises.

The Taliban stages near-daily attacks and though they are negotiating with US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, the armed group refuses to talk directly to Ghani's government, calling it a "puppet" of the West. The Taliban chain of command is loose in some areas. They have to sit down at the negotiating table and engage in real compromises, in real negotiations for peace.

'They (U.S.) have wasted a lot of our time and energy in the name of peace talks.

The commanders said they were prepared to launch a spring offensive and had recruited more than 6,000 fighters and suicide bombers if the peace talks fail.

Other conditions in the deal would include a Taliban pledge not to associate with al-Qaida, the Islamic State group or other militant groups.

A senior Afghan defence official said Kabul was ready to continue fighting if the talks collapse.



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