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BREAKING: Taliban’s peace deal to start tonight, possibly paving way for U.S. troops’ Afghanistan withdrawal

ISLAMABAD (AP) -- A senior U.S. State Department official says the seven-day "reduction of violence" deal promised by the Taliban will begin "tonight," without specifying the exact time.

That will start the countdown to the signing of a peace agreement between the Taliban and the United States at the end of the month.

That peace agreement, to be signed in Qatar on Feb. 29, will pave the way for a withdrawal of U.S. troops and intra- Afghan negotiations.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the peace agreement will also lead to an eventual permanent cease-fire.

Associated Press

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