U.S., Taliban Negotiate Short-Term Deal To Reduce Violence

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper revealed Thursday that the U.S. and Taliban reached a deal “for a seven-day reduction in violence,” he told reporters during a visit to Brussels where he’s meeting with North Atlantic Treaty Organization defense ministers.

“The United States and the Taliban have negotiated a proposal for a seven-day reduction in violence. I am here today consulting with allies about this proposal and we’ve had a series of productive bilateral and collective meetings about the path forward,” Sec. Esper said during a news conference.

He continued, “We’ve said all along that the best if not only solution in Afghanistan is a political agreement. Progress has been made on this front and I will have more to report on that soon, I hope.”

President Donald Trump is committed to downsizing the number of U.S. troops remaining in Afghanistan and establishing peace with the Taliban. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani spoke this week with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who reported “notable progress” in the bilateral peace talks.

“This is a welcoming development and I am pleased that our principal position on peace thus far has begun to yield fruitful results. Our primary objective is to end the senseless bloodshed,” Pres. Ghani wrote on Twitter Tuesday.