US announces week-long partial truce with Taliban Feb 14, 2020 0 74 12345 AFPBrusselsThe United States has secured a seven-day reduction in violence in talks to help seek a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan, Pentagon chief Mark Esper said on Thursday.The announcement came as NATO defence ministers met in Brussels and a day after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani reported “notable progress” in negotiations with the Islamist insurgents.“The United States and the Taliban have negotiated a proposal for a seven-day reduction in violence,” Esper told reporters, dubbing his meetings with NATO colleagues ‘productive’. “We’ve said all along that the best, if not the only, solution in Afghanistan is a political agreement. Progress has been made on that front and we’ll have more to report on that soon, I hope.”Esper did not say when the partial truce would begin, but on Wednesday a Taliban official told AFP that the group would begin a “reduction of violence” on Friday.“It is our view that seven days for now is sufficient but in all things our approach to this process will be conditions based, I will say it again, conditions based,” Esper said.“So it will be a continual evaluative process as we move forward, if we go forward.”Washington and the insurgents have been locked in gruelling talks that have stretched over more than a year, seeking an end to what has already become America’s longest war. RELATED ARTICLES Top US commander warns Philippines rift could hurt counter-terrorism fight Feb 14, 2020 0 601 Indonesian volcano spews ash, lava Feb 14, 2020 0 1521 Business booms for ‘Parasite’ locations Feb 14, 2020 0 387 Virus death toll soars as China changes counting methods AFP Beijing China’s official death toll from the new coronavirus spiked dramatically on Thursday after authorities changed their counting methods, fuelling concern the epidemic is far worse than being reported. .. BOOSTING TIES: TURKEY’S ERDOGAN IN PAKISTAN Islamabad (dpa) - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Islamabad on Thursday, months after Pakistan''s rebuke to a plan some saw as a challenge to Saudi Arabia''s hegemony in the Muslim .. Mall reopens in Thailand, days after mass shooting Bangkok: A shopping centre in north-eastern Thailand that last weekend was the scene of the country’s deadliest mass shooting reopened its doors to the public on Thursday. Large crowds turned out at Terminal 21 mall in .. Blast kills another Pakistani Taliban leader in Afghanistan Peshawar: A senior Pakistani Taliban commander was killed by a bomb in eastern Afghanistan, militant and intelligence sources told AFP on Thursday, the latest such incident to target the group in recent days. Sheharyar .. At least 14 killed, 31 hurt in bus-truck collision in India New Delhi: At least 14 people were killed and dozens injured when a speeding bus rammed into a parked truck in northern India, police said on Thursday. Police officer Iraj Raja said the crash occurred on an expressway in .. Russia fines Twitter, Facebook for keeping data abroad AFP Moscow A Moscow court on Thursday fined social networking giants Twitter and Facebook for ignoring a Russian law requiring them to store Russian citizens’ user data inside the country. A court slapped the US-based ..