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October 2020
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ED grills Farooq Abdullah for six hours in JKCA graft case, People''s Alliance says it''s vendetta        NCW seeks explanation from Kamal Nath for his remarks against MP minister        Imran Khan incapable and clueless; betrayed people of Pakistan: Opposition leaders        Nawaz Sharif''s son-in-law arrested in Pakistan        Kerala''s Covid tally touches 3.33 lakh with 5,022 fresh cases        HC restrains Customs from arresting Sivasankar till Oct 23, suspended officer discharged from hospital        Buttler, bowlers guide RR to seven-wicket win over CSK        Punjab beat MI in second Super Over        Saina, Sindhu's biggest Graffiti in India unveiled        Trump leans into fear tactics in bid to win Midwest states        US polls: New Congress could have more Indian Americans to the House Advertisement        Active COVID-19 cases below 8 lakh for 2nd day in row; recovery rate 88.03 pc        Flood situation grim in parts of Telangana, Karnataka        Dalit woman gang-raped at gunpoint in UP        Army pressed into service in 4 flood-hit Karnataka dists; CM to undertake aerial survey        Pakistan pacer Umar Gul announces retirement from all forms of cricket        HDFC Bank Q2 net profit rises 16% to Rs 7,703 cr        Biden warns Trump wants to scrap health law        BJP govt has surrendered in front of criminals: Akhilesh        Rahul Gandhi, Capt Amarinder vow to force centre to revoke black farm laws        
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International News
Taliban say they handed cease-fire offer to US peace envoy
 
Islamabad: The Taliban have given the US envoy a document outlining their offer for a temporary cease-fire in Afghanistan that would last between seven and 10 days, Taliban officials familiar with the negotiations said Thursday.

The offer is seen as an opportunity to open a window to an eventual peace deal for Afghanistan that would allow the United States to bring home its troops and end the 18-year war, America's longest conflict.

The cease-fire offer was handed to Zalmay Khalilzad, Washington's envoy for talks with the insurgents, late on Wednesday in Qatar, a Gulf Arab country where the Taliban maintain a political office.

Khalilzad has been pressing for a cease-fire but it wasn't immediately clear whether the Taliban proposal would be enough to allow for the on-again off-again talks between the Taliban and the US to restart, with the aim of eventually signing a peace deal.

Previously, Khalilzad said a US-Taliban deal would also include the start of negotiations among Afghans on both sides of the conflict to hammer out a so-called road map to a post-war Afghanistan.

That road map would tackle thorny issues such as a permanent cease-fire, women's and minority rights, and the fate of thousands of Taliban fighters and also militias loyal to Kabul's warlords.

But the Taliban have been refusing to talk with the Kabul government of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.

The two are currently fighting over who won last year's presidential elections.

The initial vote count gave Ghani the win but Abdullah, who came in second, is contesting the count. A final outcome has yet to be announced by Afghanistan's election commission.

Last September, the Taliban and the U.S. appeared close to signing a deal when an upsurge in Taliban attacks, including the killing of another US soldier, prompted President Donald Trump to scrap the talks.

On Thanksgiving, during his first visit to US troops in Afghanistan, Trump softened his stance, saying the Taliban were ready to make a deal, though both Kabul and Washington insisted the Taliban would have to show a sign of good faith by reducing their attacks.

In December, the Taliban leadership headquartered in Pakistan agreed to put forth a temporary cease-fire offer.

A Taliban official said that mistrust has long characterized the US-Taliban talks and that the insurgents hesitated to offer a more permanent cease-fire without having US troops pull out first.

Should the truce deal fall, returning Taliban fighters to the battlefield with the same intensity could be a problem, the official said.

'There was a thinking within the Taliban ranks that it would be difficult for them to reorganize fighters after a break in fighting, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the talks.

Taliban fighters were also unwilling to lay down their arms, "thinking it's their fighting that's forcing the U.S. to come to the table," he said.

The Taliban today control around half of Afghanistan and continue to stage near-daily attacks targeting Afghan and US forces, Afghan government officials or those seen as loyal to the Kabul administration but many civilians are also dying in the crossfire of the insurgent attacks, as well as in operations against the Taliban carried out by Afghan and US forces.


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