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US, Taliban discuss signing of peace deal: Shaheen

KABUL (TOLO News): Negotiators from the United States and the Taliban have resumed talks in Doha and are discussing “the signing of the peace deal and a ceremony for it” over the past two days, a Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said in a tweet early on Friday.

Shaheen said that the negotiations – which are led by the US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban deputy Abdul Ghani Baradar – will continue for the next few days.

These current talks have built on peace discussions that began last year but were scuttled by US President Donald Trump in early September following a bombing in Kabul, claimed by the Taliban, that killed more than a dozen people, including a US service member.

A gradual withdrawal of the 13,000 US forces, and thousands of NATO troops, is part of the peace deal, according to sources familiar with the talks.

As part of efforts to move the peace process forward, sources said, the Taliban leader has agreed on a reduction in violence for a period of between seven to 10 days.

However, the Afghan government, which has been excluded from the US-Taliban talks, is insisting on a ceasefire before beginning intra-Afghan negotiations.

Last week, President Ghani’s spokesman Sediq Seddiqi said in a tweet that a reduction in violence “is not practical” and “it does not have an accurate meaning in legal and military terms.”

He also said a ceasefire should be similar to the one announced two years ago during the celebration of Eid – in August 2017– which lasted for three days.

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