TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Afghan, international and Taliban forces will observe a seven-day period of reduced violence in Afghanistan beginning at midnight (1930 GMT), an Afghan official and Taliban leaders said on Friday.

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The agreement was struck during protracted negotiations between US and Taliban representatives that began in Qatar in 2018, and could lead to a withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, they said.

“Based on the plan, the reduction in violence (RIV) will start between the Taliban and international and Afghan security forces for one week,” Javid Faisal, spokesperson for the Afghan National Security Advisor, told Reuters.

“We hope it is extended for a longer time and opens the way for a ceasefire and intra-Afghan talks,” he added.

Three senior Taliban leaders – two in Doha and one in Afghanistan – also confirmed to Reuters that they had agreed on reduction of violence in Afghanistan for seven days starting Friday night.

All three spoke on condition of anonymity. The Taliban is expected to make a formal announcement of the RIV later on Friday.

One Taliban leader based in Doha told Reuters that the period could not be called a “ceasefire.”

“Every party has the right of self-defense but there would no attacks on each other’s positions in these seven days,” the Taliban leader said.

“It is to create a security environment in Afghanistan and can be extended if things go well after signing of a peace accord with the US,” he added.