MONITORING (SW) – The Taliban, Afghan and US forces would observe a weeklong "reduction in violence," an official confirmed on Friday.
"The reduction in violence will start from February 22 and will last for one week," said Javad Faisal, National Security Council spokesman. "Based on the plan, the reduction in violence (RIV) will start between the Taliban and international and Afghan security forces for one week," he said. "We hope it is extended for a longer time and opens the way for a ceasefire and intra-Afghan talks," he said.
If the truce is sucessful, it could pave the way to a deal that could lead to the end of the 18-year war in Afghanistan. The weeklong reduction in violence is seen as a test that would show, if carried out effectively, that the Taliban can control their forces and fulfill their commitments in the event of a deal. Such a deal would see the US withdraw about half of the 12,000-13,000 troops in Afghanistan.
Also on Friday, Zabihullah Mujahed, the Taliban spokesman said in a statement that following lengthy negotiations, both parties (Taliban and the U.S) agreed to sign the finalized accord in the presence of international observers on the 29th of February 2019. "Both parties will now create a suitable security situation in advance of agreement signing date, extend invitations to senior representatives of numerous countries and organizations to participate in the signing ceremony, make arrangements for the release of prisoners, structure a path for intra-Afghan negotiations with various political parties of the country and finally lay the groundwork for peace across the country with the withdrawal of all foreign forces and not allowing the land of Afghanistan to be used against security of others so that our people can live a peaceful and prosperous life under the shade of an Islamic system", read the statement.