U.S., Taliban to Begin a Countdown to Afghan Peace Deal by Kathy Gannon and Matthew Lee – Associated Press
The countdown to the signing of a peace agreement between the Taliban and the United States on Feb. 29 to end the 18 years of war in Afghanistan will begin at midnight Friday, when a seven-day “reduction of violence” promised by the Taliban goes into effect, an Afghan official said.
After that weeklong period, the long-sought peace agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban will be signed in Doha, Qatar, paving the way for a withdrawal of U.S. troops and intra-Afghan negotiations, a senior U.S. State Department official said The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the deal and its details. .
The period of reduced violence is due to start at midnight Friday local time (1930 GMT, 2:30 p.m. EST), according to the Afghan official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media…