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AFGHANISTAN-HELMAND-MILITARY OPERATION by .
Afghan security forces take part in a military operation in Helmand province, Afghanistan. (Xinhua/Abdul Aziz Safdari)

The US and the Afghan Taliban said on Friday that they are set to sign an agreement on February 29 after the implementation of a week-long violence reduction in Afghanistan.

President Donald Trump is joined by Vice President Mike Pence, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, left; Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Army General Mark A. Milley, and Brig. Gen. Marcus Evans, Deputy Director for Special Operations on the Joint Staff, at right, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, in the Situation Room of the White House monitoring developments as U.S. Special Operations forces close in on notorious ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s compound in Syria with a mission to kill or capture the terrorist. (Photo: White House/IANS) by .
President Donald Trump with Vice President Mike Pence, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, left; Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Army General Mark A. Milley, and Brig. Gen. Marcus Evans, Deputy Director for Special Operations on the Joint Staff, at right. (Photo: White House/IANS)

US President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser (NSA) Robert O’Brien has said that the US would be unlikely to sign an agreement with the Afghan Taliban should the latter fail to comply with a reduction of violence deal.

“If the Taliban does not live up to their agreement on the reduction of violence plan, then we’ll take a very careful look at it, and I think it’d be unlikely that we’d sign a peace treaty,” O’Brien said during an interview with CBS News.

“We’re not going to reduce troops to a level below what is necessary to protect American interests and our partners in Afghanistan,” he added.

Earlier in the day, Trump told reporters before kicking off his trip to India that the Taliban “are tired of fighting,” and both the United States and the Taliban seek to make a deal, media reported.

The so-called seven-day reduction in violence, which started on Saturday, could be a test for the Taliban leadership to prove its control over its fighters ahead of signing a peace deal with the United States to end the war in Afghanistan.

According to security officials, no major security incidents have been reported from across the country.

Only a convoy of security forces came under attack in Shah Wali Kot district of Kandahar province at 10:30 a.m. local time Sunday, provincial police spokesman Jamal Barikzai confirmed.

KANDAHAR, May 23, 2019 (Xinhua) -- An Afghan security force member takes part in a military operation against Taliban militants in Shahwalikot district of Kandahar province, Afghanistan, May 22, 2019. (Xinhua/Sanaullah Seiam/IANS) by Sanaullah Seiam.
An Afghan security force member takes part in a military operation against Taliban militants in Shahwalikot district of Kandahar province.(Xinhua/Sanaullah Seiam/IANS)

However, no one has claimed responsibility for the attack that left no casualties.

The US and the Afghan Taliban said on Friday that they are set to sign an agreement on February 29 after the implementation of a week-long violence reduction in Afghanistan.

Peace talks between both the countries began in 2018 but have been interrupted at least twice after Taliban attacks on US military personnel in September and December last year.

The war in Afghanistan is the longest one in US history. The death toll of US service members has surpassed 2,400 since the country invaded Afghanistan in 2001. Trump has long grumbled about the US military presence in Afghanistan that started in 2001, calling it “ridiculous.”

Ghani’s Second Term

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has planned to take the oath of office on Thursday, after he secured a second-term as the country’s leader, according to an informed source.

KABUL, Aug. 11, 2019 (Xinhua) -- Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani (R) reviews the guards of honor during an Eid al-Adha prayer at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 11, 2019. Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on Sunday called for the end of war and the return of viable peace in his militancy-battered country. (Xinhua/Rahmatullah Alizadah/IANS) by .
Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani (R) reviews the guards of honor during an Eid al-Adha prayer at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan (Xinhua/Rahmatullah Alizadah/IANS)

Besides the source confirming the news to TOLO News on Sunday, the Afghan Presidential Palace has also announced the President’s plans but did not mention a day.

On February 18, the Independent Election Commission announced that Ghani had secured a second term by garnering 50.64 per cent of the votes cast in the September 28, 2019 presidential election.

Ghani’s rival and Chief Executive of his National Unity Government Abdullah Abdullah came second by securing 39.52 per cent of the votes.

The incumbent President’s win has sparked strong reactions from his rivals, including Abdullah who has rejected the result.

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