US-Taliban truce begins, raising hopes for a peace deal

An agreement that is supposed to usher peace in Afghanistan has come into effect.
The Taliban and the United States have begun what they are calling a week-long “reduction in violence”.
With a thousand Afghans dying every month, the pause has offered some hope. But the unaccustomed silence has also raised some awkward questions.

Al Jazeera’s John Hendren reports from Washington, DC

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In This Story: Afghanistan

Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country at the crossroads of Central and South Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan to the east and south; Iran to the west; Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan to the north; and China to the northeast.

Occupying 652,000 square kilometers (252,000 sq mi), it is a mountainous country with plains in the north and southwest. Kabul is the capital and largest city. The population is around 32 million, composed mostly of ethnic Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras, and Uzbeks.

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The Taliban or Taleban, who refer to themselves as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, is a Deobandi Islamist movement and military organization in Afghanistan, currently waging war within the country. Since 2016, the Taliban’s leader has been Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada.

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The United States is a country also known as the United States of America, USA, US or just America. There are fifty states in the union, which is a federal republic ruled by a representative democracy. Nearly ten million square kilometres are inhabited by over 300 million people. The majority of Americans speak English.

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