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U.S. reportedly reaches Afghanistan truce with Taliban

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US reaches truce deal with Taliban. Fox News

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U.S. reportedly reaches Afghanistan truce with Taliban

The U.S. reached an initial deal with the Taliban on Friday that could begin a drawdown of American troops from Afghanistan, the AP reports, citing a senior U.S. official.

The big picture: Top administration officials, including President Trump, had signaled recently that the agreement — announced at the Munich Security Conference — could be reached soon, allowing the gradual end to a nearly two-decade war that has cost thousands of American lives.

The "very specific" deal includes the entire country and allows for a seven-day "reduction of violence" to act as the precursor to all-Afghan peace talks within 10 days.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Thursday that the U.S. and Taliban had “negotiated a proposal for a seven-day reduction in violence."

The conditions are vague. If the administration deems they’ve been met, it could sign a deal with the Taliban. The U.S. would then withdraw some troops and the Taliban would enter negotiations with the Afghan government about the country's political future.

Between the lines, via Axios' Dave Lawler: Trump is not the first American president to want to end the conflict.

"President Bush wanted out, President Obama wanted out, President Trump wants out," says Michael Morell, who held top roles at the CIA under both Bush and Obama. "Nobody can see a path to this ending, and the American people are getting tired of it."

"What’s held them back is a belief that once we leave, the Taliban’s going to take over … and offer al-Qaeda safe haven again."

"That is a risk that President Bush wasn’t willing to take, President Obama wasn’t willing to take, and President Trump earlier in his term wasn’t willing to take," says Morell, who hosts the Intelligence Matters podcast.

https://www.axios.com/afghanistan-us-taliban-truce-deal-822fe7ef-e4af-4b9f-9806-8a15a6207d35.html