U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper met with Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani today in Munich. In hopes that the talks will lead to U.S. troop withdrawal, a senior U.S. official said that in fact, “the United States and Afghanistan have reached a truce agreement that will take effect ‘very soon” reported the Associated Press. Additionally, the official said the agreement “for a seven-day ‘reduction of violence’ to be followed by the start of all-Afghan peace talks within 10 days is ‘very specific’ and covers the entire country including Afghan forces.”
The Associated Press reports that President Trump has agreed “in principle to the deal” and should lead to “significant U.S. troop withdrawals from Afghanistan.” The Associated Press notes “people familiar with the plan’s outlines say it calls for the successful conclusion of the weeklong truce to be followed within 10 days by the start of all-Afghan negotiations to set the road map for the country’s political future.”
Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin speaking on “America’s Newsroom” explained the situation in laymen’s terms. Griffin said the information received on the negotiations was from a top U.S. official who is on the ground in Munich and was part of the talks. Griffin noted the optimistic detail of this particular agreement as opposed to those in the past is that all three sides – the United States, the Taliban, and the Afghanistan government were all part of the process. In previous times, Afghanistan complained that talks between the U.S. and Taliban left them out of the negotiations and even accused the United States of cutting a deal with the Taliban behind their back.
Although a positive step, Griffin warned that this is “a test period for the Taliban” during the agreed to 7 days of a reduction of violence. And that “if it holds, then ten days later there will be negotiations between the Taliban and Afghanistan. If that goes as planned” we could then see U.S. troops withdrawals. Although there are “still many hurdles” says Griffin, such as “whose definition” of reduction of violence are we adhering to, and questioning if other important regional players such as Pakistan and Iran are “on board” with the deal. Nonetheless, Griffin notes “it is a significant announcement today.”