Esper says Taliban deal is promising but not without risk

International
Abdul Ghani Baradar

FILE – In this May 28, 2019, file photo, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban group’s top political leader, second left, arrives with other members of the Taliban delegation for talks in Moscow, Russia. U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad held on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019 the first official talks with Afghanistan’s Taliban since last September when President Donald Trump declared a near-certain peace deal with the insurgents dead. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

MUNICH (AP) – U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper says a truce agreement between the United States and the Taliban that could lead to the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan is not without risk but “looks very promising.” Ahead of a formal announcement of the 7-day “reduction in violence” deal, Esper said Saturday it was time to give peace a chance in Afghanistan through a political negotiation. Esper spoke while attending the Munich Security Conference a day after a senior U.S. official said the deal had been concluded. In later remarks to a group of reporters, Esper declined to say whether the U.S. had agreed to cut its troop levels in Afghanistan to zero.

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