The Taliban has confirmed that they have shared a 90-day reduction in violence (RIV) plan with the US, but said there has been no overall agreement on the plan so far.
Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem told TOLOnews that the reduction in violence will not mean a ceasefire, but it will result in a decrease in all operations by the group in Afghanistan.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in his letter to President Ashraf Ghani referred to this plan and has reiterated that it will stop the Taliban from announcing its so-called spring offensive.
But Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem said the plan was proposed by the Taliban in December and an agreement has not yet been reached.
“We proposed a draft in December, which involved all operations being reduced, but so far a final agreement has not been reached,” Naeem said on Monday.
“All conditions will be applied in the upcoming 90 days. It will include a reduction in violence and avoiding big attacks on districts,” university lecturer Faizullah Zaland said.
This comes as US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin paid an unannounced visit to Kabul on his first trip to Afghanistan as Pentagon chief during which he met with President Ashraf Ghani and voiced concern about the high level of violence in the country.
“It’s obvious that the level of violence remains pretty high in the country,” Austin said, as quoted by the Associated Press. “We’d really like to see that violence come down and I think if it does come down, it can begin to set the conditions for, you know, some really fruitful diplomatic work.”
“Both sides expressed their concerns about the high level of violence and reiterated that the only solution for Afghanistan is an enduring peace,” presidential spokesman Dawa Khan Menapal said.
Austin said he visited Kabul to “listen and learn” to “inform (his) participation” in reviewing the future of the American force in the country.
Biden said last week in an ABC News interview that it will be “tough” for the US to meet a May 1st deadline to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. But Biden said that if the deadline--determined by the Trump administration and Taliban-- is extended it wouldn’t be by a “lot longer.”
“He brought the message that the United States has made its final decision in this respect,” international affairs analyst Wahid Faqiri said. “I think there won’t be more chance for Americans to remain in Afghanistan.”
Based on the Doha agreement, the US has committed to withdrawing its forces from Afghanistan by May 1. However, sources have said applying this plan in the remaining 38 days will be difficult logistically. The Taliban has said that the US should abide by its commitment to this part of the agreement.