The Taliban said it has agreed to a temporary nationwide ceasefire in Afghanistan, providing a window during which a peace agreement with the United States could be signed.

A peace deal would allow Washington to bring home its troops from Afghanistan and end its 18-year military engagement in the country.

The US wants any deal to include a promise from the Taliban that Afghanistan would not be used as a base by terrorist groups. The US has an estimated 12,000 troops in the country.

The Taliban chief must approve the agreement but that is expected.

The duration of the ceasefire was not specified but it is being suggested it would last for 10 days.

Members of a Taliban negotiating team met for a week with the group’s ruling council before they agreed on the brief ceasefire. The negotiating team returned on Sunday to Qatar where they maintain their political office.

A key pillar of the agreement, which the US and Taliban have been hammering out for more than a year, is direct negotiations between Afghans on both sides of the conflict.

Those talks are expected to be held within two weeks of the signing of a US-Taliban peace deal.

They will probably decide what a post-war Afghanistan will look like, and what role the Taliban will play.

The negotiations would cover a wide range of subjects, such as the rights of women, free speech and the fate of tens of thousands of Taliban fighters, as well as the heavily armed militias belonging to Afghanistan’s warlords who have amassed wealth and power since the Taliban’s ousting from power.

The temporary ceasefire had been proposed by US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad during the last round of talks.

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