MONITORING (SW) – The United States and the Taliban have agreed to a proposal for a seven-day reduction in violence in Afghanistan, and the Defense Department is working with allies on the path forward, Defense Secretary Mark Esper has said.
"The best, if not only solution forward is a political agreement," Esper said following his meeting with NATO defense ministers in Brussels today. "We have the basis for one on the table, and we are taking a hard look at it. We are consulting with our allies. We are consulting with Congress and others. And I think peace deserves a chance."
At a news conference on Thursday following meeting NATO Allies, Esper said a positive outcome will require that all parties comply with obligations. "For the United States, the key thing will be continued support to our Afghan partners, and it will need to be a conditions-based approach to all of this," he added.
His Afghan counterpart, Assadullah Khalid has stressed NATO Allies have pledged to continue supporting Afghanistan. Following meetings in Brussels, Khalid said the NATO Defense minister vowed to financially and militarily support the Afghan forces.
Separately, On Thursday, Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo said the President Donald Trump had given the go-ahead for further talks. He hailed recent progress, but said the negotiations were complicated and that a peace deal had not yet been reached. “We hope we can get to the place where we can get a significant reduction in violence, not only on a piece of paper,” he said. “If we can get there and we can hold that posture for a while, we may well be able to begin the serious discussion which is all the Afghans sitting at a table finding a true reconciliation.”