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The U.S. has been in talks for over a year with the Taliban, working on a deal to end the war in Afghanistan, and to ensure the best possible situation in Afghanistan after the U.S. withdraws.
They were close to a deal in September when the Taliban engaged in more violence including killing a U.S. soldier, prompting President Donald Trump to suspend talks.
But after a surprise visit by Trump to Afghanistan on Thanksgiving, the talks were restarted and now there’s pretty big news that the Taliban ruling council has agreed to a temporary cease-fire to allow a window to sign a peace deal.
#NEW: Pres. Trump during a surprise Thanksgiving visit to the troops in Afghanistan, says peace talks with the Taliban have resumed:
"The Taliban wants to make a deal… and they only want to make a deal because you're doing a great job.”pic.twitter.com/hbIGWHh20h
— Jennifer Franco (@jennfranconews) November 28, 2019
The U.S. had demanded a cease-fire before any deal, so that critical step was met. The U.S. also wants a deal to include a promise that they not be used as a terrorist base.
It’s not clear how long the cease-fire would be but indications were it might be for at least ten days.
If this holds, this could officially end the 18-year-old effort in Afghanistan and bring all the U.S. troops who are there home. That would be a huge thing for Trump and for the military troops serving if they’re able to make a credible deal.
Taliban officials familiar with the negotiations spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to media outlets.
A key pillar of the agreement, which the U.S. and Taliban have been hammering out for more than a year, is direct negotiations between Afghans on both sides of the conflict.
Those intra-Afghan talks were expected to be held within two weeks of the signing of a U.S.-Taliban peace deal. They will decide what a post-war Afghanistan will look like.
The first item on the agenda is expected to address how to implement a cease-fire between the Taliban and Afghanistan’s National Security Forces. The negotiations, however, were expected to be prickly and will cover a variety of thorny issues, including rights of women, free speech, and changes to the country’s constitution.