(MENAFN- Daily Outlook Afghanistan) WASHINGTON - The US Defense Secretary Mark Esper and US Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley at a US Senate Armed Services Committee hearing said that less than a week has passed since the signing of the peace agreement with the Taliban and the overall level of attacks has been low.
The two US officials say that, so far, the provincial capitals of the thirty-four provinces in Afghanistan have not witnessed Taliban attacks.
US Army Chief Mark Milley said that Taliban attacks in the past twenty-four to forty-eight hours have been small and at a low level.
'The Taliban have signed up to a whole series of conditions, Milley said, adding: 'Of significance, there's no attack on 34 provincial capitals, no attacks in Kabul, no high profile attacks, no suicide bombers, no vehicle-borne suicide, no attacks against U.S. forces, no attack against coalition [forces],
The US Defense Secretary Mark Esper, meanwhile, said he considered one of the reasons for the continued violence to be the lack of control of the Taliban leadership over extremists within the Taliban group.
'Keeping that group of people on board is a challenge. They've got their range of hard-liners and soft-liners and so they're wrestling with that too, I think, said Esper.
However, Mark Esper sees the current opportunity as leading towards a "historic" Afghan peace.
'We have an historic opportunity here, we signed on Saturday in Qatar, I was in Kabul at the same time--this agreement that lays out a framework by which we could proceed toward an eventual intra-Afghan negotiation. It's supposed to happen at this point five days from now, Esper added.
According to the US-Taliban peace agreement, the number of US troops in Afghanistan will fall to 8,600 within 135 days after the agreement was signed, and all US and foreign troops will be out in 14 months. But the troop withdrawal agreement is "conditional" and subject to the Taliban fulfilling their commitments. (TOLO NEWS)
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