US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Afghan authorities and Taliban negotiators in Doha, calling for them to hurry up their peace talks as Washington accelerates its navy withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Pompeo “called for a significant reduction in violence and encouraged expedited discussions on a political roadmap and a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire”, in accordance with the US State Department.
The prime US diplomat met individually with the Afghan authorities and Taliban negotiation groups in a luxurious resort within the Qatari capital, and his encounter with the unconventional Islamist insurgents lasted over an hour.
His go to got here within the wake of a rocket assault which struck densely populated areas of Kabul, killing at the very least eight folks within the newest outbreak of violence within the Afghan capital. The Taliban denied duty and the Islamic State group claimed the lethal strike.
“I would be most interested in getting your thoughts on how we can increase the probability of a successful outcome”, Pompeo stated as he met the Afghan authorities aspect, noting the shared curiosity in such a state of affairs.
He additionally met Qatar’s ruler, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, and Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, the international minister, on his cease in Doha, which is the Taliban’s base for diplomacy.
But there was no announcement of any breakthrough in talks between the Taliban and the Afghan authorities, forward of Pompeo’s departure.
He flew on to Abu Dhabi for the following leg of his seven-nation tour of Europe and the Middle East, as President Donald Trump shores up late-term priorities.
Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation, advised AFP the federal government and the Taliban have been “very close” to breaking a impasse in talks.
“We are close, we are very close. Hopefully we pass this phase and get to the substantial issues” together with safety, he stated throughout a go to to Turkey.
Earlier this week, the Pentagon stated it will quickly pull some 2,000 troops out of Afghanistan, dashing up the timeline established in a February settlement between Washington and the Taliban that envisions a full US withdrawal in mid-2021.
Trump has repeatedly vowed to finish “forever wars”, together with in Afghanistan, America’s longest-ever battle that started with an invasion to dislodge the Taliban following the September 11, 2001 assaults.
President-elect Joe Biden, in a uncommon level of settlement with Trump, additionally advocates winding down the Afghanistan warfare, though analysts imagine he won’t be as wedded to a speedy withdrawal.
The Taliban are chatting with Afghanistan’s authorities for the primary time.
The talks began on September 12 in Doha however virtually instantly faltered over disagreements in regards to the agenda, the fundamental framework of discussions and spiritual interpretations.
Several sources advised AFP on Friday that the 2 sides seem to have resolved a number of the points, nevertheless.
Among the sticking factors thus far, the Taliban and the Afghan authorities have struggled to agree on widespread language on two major points.
The Taliban, who’re Sunni hardliners, are insisting on adherence to the Hanafi faculty of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence, however authorities negotiators say this may very well be used to discriminate in opposition to Hazaras, who’re predominantly Shiite, and different minorities in Afghanistan.
Another contentious subject is how the US-Taliban deal will form a future Afghan peace deal and the way will probably be referred to.
The Doha peace talks opened after the Taliban and Washington signed a deal in February, with the US agreeing to withdraw all international forces in trade for safety ensures and a Taliban promise to start out talks.
Despite the talks, violence has surged throughout Afghanistan, with the Taliban stepping up each day assaults in opposition to Afghan safety forces.
Trump’s plan to slash troops by January 15 — lower than every week earlier than his successor Joe Biden is to be sworn in to workplace — has been criticised in Afghanistan.
Saturday’s strike on the Afghan capital noticed a barrage of rockets slam into varied components of central and north Kabul — together with in and across the closely fortified Green Zone that homes embassies and worldwide corporations.
The Islamic State group stated in a press release that 28 Katyusha rockets had been fired by “soldiers of the caliphate”.
Afghanistan’s inside ministry spokesman Tariq Arian had earlier blamed the Taliban, saying “terrorists” had fired a complete of 23 rockets. However, the Taliban denied duty, saying they “do not blindly fire on public places”.
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