Taliban agrees to temporary ceasefire in Afghanistan

The Taliban agreed to a temporary cease-fire in Afghanistan Sunday, giving the U.S. the opportunity to sign a peace deal with the group and pull troops out of the country.

The Taliban chief still has to approve the deal, but he is expected to accept. The U.S. has pushed for a deal to include an agreement that Afghanistan would not be used as a base by terrorist groups, The Associated Press reported.

Taliban negotiators worked with the ruling council for a week before agreeing to the cease-fire. The length of the cease-fire has not been announced, but some say it will be for 10 days, according to the AP.

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The U.S.-Taliban peace deal is going to request intra-Afghan negotiations between people on both sides of the clash. The agreement, called off by President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS launches airstrikes targeting Iran-backed militia in Iraq, Syria Trade, interest rates top finance fights for 2020 Five health care fights to watch in 2020 MORE earlier this year after an attack, would determine the Taliban’s role in Afghanistan and effectively end America’s longest war in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the Defense Department took steps to defend coalition troops in Iraq and Syria after launching defensive strikes against five Kataib Hizbollah bases, the department announced Sunday.

The strikes were in response to an alleged Kataib Hizbollah attack that killed a U.S. citizen, according to a statement from Assistant Defense Secretary Jonathan Hoffman. 

Attacks against three bases in Iraq and two in Syria were intended to decrease the ability for the Iranian supported Shi’ite Muslim militia group to attack coalition forces who are there to stop ISIS from reemerging. 

“The U.S. and its coalition partners fully respect Iraqi sovereignty, and support a strong and independent Iraq,” he wrote. “The U.S., however, will not be deterred from exercising its right of self-defense.” 

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