New Delhi: The United States and Taliban in Afghanistan have called a temporary truce and agreed for a week-long ‘reduction in violence’ that is set to begin at midnight on Friday. After prolonged negotiations between the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and Washington, the two parties agreed to sign the finalised peace accord in the presence of international onlookers. Also Read - Amid COVID Surge, US to Restrict Travel From India Starting May 4

In a press meeting earlier today, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo alongside Taliban leaders announced that the agreement was an important step on the road to peace for the two nations. Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed the development and added that, as part of the pact, both sides have agreed to make efforts to release prisoners. Also Read - US Sends Five tonnes of Oxygen Concentrators to India Amid Severe COVID19 Crisis

If successful, this will facilitate a political settlement in Afghanistan by reducing the presence of U.S. troops in the region. The ‘signing ceremony’, Mujahid added, will be followed by intra-Afghan talks with political parties in the country. Also Read - President Joe Biden to Withdraw US Troops From Afghanistan by September 11

In September last year, US President Donald Trump had called off peace negotiations with Afghanistan’s Taliban leaders after the insurgent group admitted its role behind an attack in Kabul that killed an American soldier and 11 other people. Subsequently, a Taliban delegation had held talks with Russian special envoy for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, in Moscow to negotiate on the peace process.

The US-Taliban peace talks have been going on since December 2018 after Qatar called for a roadmap for Afghan peace. The tensions in Afghanistan dates back to 2001 when the US launched multiple airstrikes following the 9/11 attack in Washington. Taliban, who were in charge of Kabul and most of the country at the time, had refused to hand over the mastermind behind the Twin Towers attacks, Osama Bin Laden.