* By Mohammad Ghaderi

Will U.S. and Taliban manage to ink final peace agreement on Feb. 29?

February 22, 2020 - 17:10

TEHRAN - The Afghan armed group of Taliban, as its first reaction to inking the final peace agreement with the U.S., announced that the deal will be signed on February 29.

According to Al Jazeera’s report on Friday, the U.S-led forces, Kabul forces, and Taliban fighters will observe a seven-day period of reduced violence.

In the meantime, the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a statement on Thursday, confirmed that Washington and the Taliban will ink the agreement on February 29. 

A week-long "reduction in violence (RIV)" between the Taliban, the United States and Afghan security forces will begin at midnight on Friday, Al Jazeera quoted informed officials as saying.

The agreement struck during negotiations between U.S. and the Taliban representatives, if maintained, could secure a peace deal that would lead to a withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan. 

In his statement, Pompeo also confirmed that in consultation with the national unity government, the American negotiators reached an agreement” with the Taliban’s representatives in Doha to reduce violence across Afghanistan. 

Soon after Pompeo's announcement, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed the development and said both sides will invite senior representatives to take part in the peace deal "signing ceremony (on Feb. 29)".

The Taliban's statement also said the signing of the peace deal would be followed by intra-Afghan talks with various political parties in the country.

The Afghan armed group, which was removed from power in a U.S.-led invasion in 2001, has previously refused to speak directly to the Kabul government, which it denounces as a "U.S. puppet". 

Also, Javid Feisal, the spokesman for Afghan National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib, has confirmed that within the framework of reached agreements with the Taliban, the 7-day long period of RIV will start on Friday (Feb. 21) midnight. 

The 7-day RIV agreement will cover the entire provinces across Afghanistan. 

The Russian Foreign Ministry also reacted to the ongoing developments in Afghanistan and announced, “Moscow hopes that the political crisis in Afghanistan would not affect (negatively) on the trend of inking agreement between the U.S. and Taliban.”

The experts familiar with the negotiations between the U.S. and the Taliban have opined that declaring a 7-day period for reduction of valance and halting attacks on the Afghan government forces as well as the U.S. troops are somehow pre-conditions for signing the mentioned agreement and are also testifying the Taliban’s supremacy over its armed wing across the country. 


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