Taliban agree to reduce violence in Afghanistan, according to Ambassador Khalilzad

WASHINGTON: In a recent announcement from Zalmay Khalilzad, the United States Special Representative in Afghanistan, the Taliban has come to an agreement to reduce casualties and violence in the country, promising to adhere to the terms of the peace agreement with the Trump Administration.

Khalilzad stated that “at present too many Afghans are dying”, with at least 429 pro-government forces and 134 civilians being killed in September alone, adding that “with the reset, we expect that number to drop significantly”. According to the Ambassador, he and General Austin Miller – commander of the United States forces in Afghanistan – met several times with the Taliban to ensure that they are “strictly adhering” to the terms of their agreement, which included a mutually agreed ceasefire period during the negotiations.

According to Khalilzad “attacks have been on the rise in recent weeks, threatening the peace process and alarming the Afghan people”, as the sudden surge in unmitigated violence threatened to erode the peace process. Under the terms of the historic peace agreement between the United States and the Taliban, brokered by Khalilzad after nearly two decades of fighting, the Taliban agreed to a “conditional” peace deal, promising to halt operations against Western forces, and not allowing Afghan soil to be used to harbour terrorists.

While the Taliban did not explicitly agree to end violence against the internationally recognised government in Kabul, they agreed to being open to discussing a “permanent and comprehensive ceasefire” in peace talks – and with the talks ongoing, it has been reported that little progress has been made to bridge the differences between the Kabul-led government and the Taliban.