US, Taliban close to ‘reduction in violence’ agreement

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KATHY GANNON and DEB RIECHMANN Associated Press ISLAMABAD (AP) — The Taliban have issued an ultimatum to Washington after weeks of talks with a U.S. peace envoy, demanding a reply on their offer of a seven-day reduction of violence in Afghanistan, or they would walk away from the negotiating table, two Taliban officials said Wednesday. A reduction in violence deal for a very short period is sought by the Taliban because they don't want to commit to a formal cease-fire until other components of a final deal are in place. They have previously said a cease-fire could blunt their battlefield momentum if the U.S. or Kabul renege on their promises. The development comes as Washington said late Tuesday that an agreement on the insurgents' "reduction of violence" offer was days away. Also,
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