Diaa Hadid

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U.S. and Taliban officials announced a major peace deal on Saturday, but today that agreement already seems to be in jeopardy. A Taliban spokesman said today that the group could resume attacks on targets in Afghanistan immediately.

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Updated at 8:57 a.m. ET

Afghan forces, the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan and the Taliban militia will begin a seven-day "reduction in violence" across the country beginning Saturday midnight local time (2:30 p.m. ET Friday) — a possible prelude to a broader peace deal following two decades of war, according to U.S. and Afghan officials.

The quasi cease-fire was hammered out during protracted negotiations in Qatar that began in 2018. It could ultimately lead to a significant reduction of the approximately 12,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

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A senior Taliban official says the group may sign a peace deal with the United States by the end of this month. That deal would start the process of an American withdrawal from Afghanistan if it can be pulled off. NPR's Diaa Hadid is on the line with us from Kabul.

The residents of Murtazabad, a village in the highlands of Pakistan, are welcoming of strangers. On a recent day, they proffered passing visitors a yak meat porridge they had made for a religious celebration. They indulgently smiled as a horde of Thai tourists raced into one of their orchards and posed with piles of red and yellow apples.

But some days, their patience wears thin.

The girls clutch their skateboards, biting their lips and fiddling with the wheels. They're learning how to make tight little turns around traffic cones, and the tension is palpable. It could be summer camp in anywhere U.S.A., but these girls are wearing headscarves under large helmets, they're dressed in long, modest clothes and the skateboarding arena is tucked behind high walls in the Afghan capital Kabul – for the girls' own safety.

Pakistani author Mohammed Hanif used to quip that the reason why his country's intelligence officials hadn't harassed him for lampooning a military dictator was because it could take them years to get the joke.

Now that A Case of Exploding Mangoes -- the award-winning satirical novel he wrote more than a decade ago — has been translated from English into Urdu, things have changed.

On a December day in Lahore, Pakistan's second-biggest city, the smog concealed tall buildings. Men on motorbikes seemed to push through it as they rode. It reeked of diesel and charcoal, compelling the Nadim family to go to the hospital.

"I can't breathe," said Mohammad Nadim, 34. He gestured to his wife, Sonia. "My wife can't breathe." She held their 3-month-old daughter Aisha, who pushed out wet, heavy coughs. "But we are here for our children."

The baby girl cooing in a hospital in the Pakistani capital was long awaited. Her mother, Ambreen Saddam, 28, had been trying to conceive for four years. She gave birth at 9 a.m., Islamabad time, Jan. 1, 2020. That date made the birth even sweeter, says Saddam.

"It's a very happy time for us," she says, lying beside her tiny, five-pound baby, who was wrapped in a bright pink blanket in a crammed maternity ward at a sprawling health compound in the city.

In some ways, the world is also celebrating with her.

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