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Afghanistan ‘Reduction Of Violence Is Working’: Pompeo

WASHINGTON:Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that a seven-day “reduction in violence” agreement with the Taliban is largely holding.

“So far, the reduction of violence is working,” Pompeo told reporters at a briefing. “Imperfect, but it’s working.”

Pompeo announced last week that the United States and the Taliban would sign a broader peace agreement at the end of February if a weeklong reduction in violence period holds.

That agreement would kick-start intra-Afghan negotiations and a gradual U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan to wind down America’s longest war.

“We’re on the cusp of an enormous, enormous political opportunity,” Pompeo said . “We want to make sure that those who want the status quo — bloodshed, tears, economic challenges; all of those people who have an interest, whether that’s because of corruption or because some ideological view — can’t spoil what it is that the Afghan people so richly deserve after they have sacrificed so much fighting alongside of us these past 20 years.”

Pompeo stressed that the United States would only sign the agreement with the Taliban “if and only if” the partial truce holds.