Taliban show ‘willingness’ to reduce Afghan violence: FM Qureshi

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Thursday said the Taliban have shown “a willingness” to reduce violence in war-torn Afghanistan after more than 18 years fighting the US, sparking speculation that a potential breakthrough in talks with the Americans may be near.

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Negotiations between the Taliban and the US have repeatedly stalled, with Washington calling on the insurgent group to reduce violence before they can resume.

“Today, positive progress has been made, the Taliban have shown their willingness to reduce the violence, which was a demand… it’s a step towards the peace agreement,” said FM in a video statement.

He gave no further details.

Zabihullah Mujahid, the official Taliban spokesman, told AFP the Taliban were looking into the comments.

The Taliban and the US were on the brink of announcing a withdrawal deal in September last year when President Donald Trump abruptly declared the process “dead”, citing Taliban violence.

Talks were later restarted between the two sides in December in Qatar, but were paused following an attack near the Bagram military base in Afghanistan.

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