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Trump Admin May Announce Deal with the Taliban this Week: Report

President Trump shakes hands with Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani during a surprise visit at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, November 28, 2019. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)

The Trump administration is seeking to announce this week that it has reached an agreement with the Taliban to deescalate violence in Afghanistan, CNN reported on Tuesday.

The expected deal is being referred to within the administration as a “reduction in violence announcement,” which would see a ceasefire between Taliban and U.S. coalition forces that could pave the way to an eventual peace deal.

On Tuesday Afghan President Ashraf Ghani wrote on Twitter that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had told him of a Taliban offer to enact a “significant and enduring reduction in violence” in the country.

CNN reported there is skepticism within the administration over whether the “reduction in violence” plan will actually work. Taliban commanders may not be able to guarantee that all branches of the organization will abide by the deal’s terms, due to the group’s loose command structure in certain areas of Afghanistan.

U.S. officials also fear the possibility that ISIS Khorasan, ISIS’s Afghan affiliate, may recruit Taliban fighters disillusioned by a ceasefire or peace deal with U.S. forces.

President Trump has repeatedly pushed to remove American troops from Afghanistan, so far without success. Trump has also sought a peace deal with the Taliban that would allow American forces to return home, and caused controversy in September by announcing his intent to invite Taliban leaders to Camp David for peace negotiations. After facing backlash from within his administration, Trump backtracked and canceled the meeting.

The State Department did not respond to a request for comment on the reported ceasefire agreement in time for publication.

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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