U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said Thursday that the United States and the Taliban have negotiated a proposal for a seven-day reduction in violence.
Speaking at a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels, Esper said he had had a series of productive bilateral and collective meetings with allies about the proposals and the way forward.
“We have said all along that the best, if not only, solution in Afghanistan is a political agreement. Progress has been made on that front and we will have more to report on that soon, I hope,” Esper said.
But Esper also stressed that the approach to the peace process in Afghanistan would be conditions-based and continually re-evaluated.
On Wednesday, the Taliban issued an ultimatum to Washington after weeks of talks with a US peace envoy, demanding a reply to their offer of a seven-day reduction of violence, or they would walk away from the negotiating table.
A short-term reduction in violence is being sought by the Taliban because they don’t want to commit to a formal ceasefire until other components of a final deal are in place.
They have previously said a ceasefire could blunt their battlefield momentum if the U.S. or Kabul renege on their promises.