But that road is fraught with difficulties. If the temporary truce is successful, the two adversaries could sign the long-awaited peace agreement later this month. Afghanistan's election commission earlier this week declared President Ashraf Ghani the victor of the September 2019 presidential election, but his rivals quickly denounced the outcome.
The Taliban have refused to talk to Ghani's government and also denounced the election results, saying they will talk to government representatives but only as ordinary Afghans, not as officials.
Germany and Norway have both offered to host the intra-Afghan talks but no venue has yet been set.
"We've said that the best-if not only-solution in Afghanistan is a political agreement", Esper said.
"I welcome today's announcement that an understanding has been reached on a significant reduction in violence across Afghanistan", Stoltenberg said in a statement. President Donald Trump initially called off talks in September after a USA soldier was killed in a Taliban attack, although it also came after he invited the militant group to Camp David and then rescinded the invitation.
It's not yet clear how Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, seen in this 2019 photo, will be represented at the peace talks.
The FO spokesperson in its statement said that Pakistan has consistently supported direct negotiations between the USA and Taliban. "The United States calls on all Afghans to seize this moment", Pompeo said in a statement Friday.
Afghans are utterly exhausted by the violence and many do not know life without war.
In September 2018, Zalmay Khalilzad was appointed as the USA special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, and in October of that year he held his first official round of negotiation with the Taliban in Doha.
"Based on the plan, the reduction in violence (RIV) will start between the Taliban and global and Afghan security forces for one week", Javid Faisal, spokesperson for the Afghan National Security Advisor, told Reuters.
The Pentagon has declined to say whether the USA had agreed to cut its troop levels in Afghanistan to zero.
"We hope it is extended for a longer time and opens the way for a cease-fire and intra-Afghan talks", he added.
And even as the USA and Taliban inch closer to an agreement all could still be lost.
Yet Suhail Shaheen, the spokesman for the Taliban's political office in Doha, tweeted that the Taliban expect a complete withdrawal.
US and Taliban negotiators have been meeting in Doha since 2018 even though fighting has raged in Afghanistan and thousands of civilians and combatants have been killed as the insurgents have expanded their territorial control.
The worldwide community hailed the announcement, with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation saying the deal could make way for "sustainable peace", while Russian Federation labelled it an "important event" for the ending the war.
"We did not choose our war with the foreign coalition led by the United States". More than 8,000 of these alliance troops are American. The Taliban would also have to forswear support for terrorist groups in the country, which include the Haqqani Network, Islamic State-Khorasan and, of course, its own terrorist tactics.