Taliban propose brief Afghan ceasefire to the US, say sources Jan 17, 2020 0 103 12345 AFPKabulThe Taliban have offered a brief ceasefire to the US, two insurgent sources said on Thursday, a move which could allow for the resumption of talks seeking a deal for Washington to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.Washington has for weeks been calling on the militants to reduce violence, posing it as a condition for resuming formal negotiations on an agreement that would see US troops begin to leave the country in return for security guarantees, after a near two-decade fight.“It is an offer for a ceasefire either for seven or 10 days,” a senior Taliban official who requested anonymity told AFP, adding that the offer was made to US negotiators in Doha.“It has been finalised and given to the Americans. It is going to pave the way for an agreement.” A second insurgent source, based in Pakistan, confirmed that the offer had been handed to the US.The Taliban have yet to release an official statement, and Washington has not said whether it has received any offer from the insurgents or what its response will be.The Taliban and the US had been negotiating the deal for a year, and were on the brink of an announcement in September 2019 when President Donald Trump abruptly declared the process “dead”, citing Taliban violence.The insurgents’ offer, if accepted by the Americans, could see the negotiations begin again.Graeme Smith, a senior consultant with International Crisis Group, called the reports of a temporary ceasefire a “positive signal”, saying a recent reduction of attacks in urban centres has added weight to the process.“The Taliban have been sending an even bigger message with their actions in recent months. Two months have passed with no major Taliban attacks in any urban zone. That pause in attacks on cities is unprecedented over the last dozen years,” said Smith.The Taliban have only observed one ceasefire in their nearly two decade fight with the US, when the insurgents agreed to a brief three-day truce in June 2018 to mark Eid, the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. It saw Taliban fighters celebrating with ordinary Afghans in the streets.The claim from the insurgent sources came hours after Pakistan’s foreign minister said the Taliban has shown “a willingness” to reduce violence.“Today, positive progress has been made, the Taliban have shown their willingness to reduce the violence, which was a demand... it’s a step towards the peace agreement,” said Shah Mehmood Qureshi in a video statement.He gave no further details. RELATED ARTICLES Philippines says danger high despite volcano ‘lull’ Jan 17, 2020 0 134 THE ‘INTERCEPTOR’ — MALAYSIA’S LATEST WEAPON TO PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT Jan 17, 2020 0 1553 Putin’s new PM promises ‘real changes’ for Russians Jan 17, 2020 0 683 Secret mission saves Australia’s ‘dinosaur trees’ from bushfires AFP Sydney A secret operation by specialist firefighters has saved the world’s last stand of Wollemi Pines, a pre-historic species known as “dinosaur trees”, from Australia’s unprecedented bushfires, officials .. Japan reports case of mystery virus behind China outbreak Tokyo: Japan has confirmed a case of a mystery virus that first emerged in China and is from the same family as the deadly SARS pathogen, authorities said on Thursday. It appears to be only the second time the novel .. Former Philippine police chief indicted for drugs war corruption Manila: The former chief police enforcer of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly war on drugs will be charged with corruption for allegedly protecting officers linked to the narcotics trade, the justice .. Alleged slap in face costs 300,000 dollars and a sheep in Afghanistan Kabul: A traditional council of elders in Afghanistan has told a former lawmaker to pay an Afghan minister 300,000 dollars in cash along with a sheep to compensate for an alleged slap in the face. A tribal leader and deputy .. India to invite Pakistani PM to October regional summit DPA New Delhi New Delhi will invite Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit when it hosts the event later this year, Indian officials said on Thursday. “India will be ..