Pompeo hopes for Afghan peace deal ‘before Sept 1’
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said yesterday he hopes for a peace deal with the Taliban “before September 1”, speaking as he made his first visit to Kabul since Washington launched talks with the insurgents last year. Pompeo met with President Ashraf Ghani as well as General Scott Miller, who leads NATO’s Afghanistan mission and the US war effort in the country, as well as other high-level Afghan officials during the unannounced one-day visit to the Afghan capital.
He said peace was Washington’s “highest priority”. Last September the US began a fresh push to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table to end America’s longest war.
“I hope we have a peace deal before September 1, that’s certainly our mission set,” Pompeo said during the visit. US officials have previously said they are hoping for a deal before the upcoming Afghan presidential elections, which have already been delayed twice and are now set for September.
The next round of talks between the Taliban and the US is set to begin on June 29 in Doha. The talks have centered on four issues: counter-terrorism, the foreign troop presence, an intra-Afghan dialogue, and a permanent ceasefire. The Taliban has insisted that foreign troops must leave, and refused to speak with the Afghan government in Kabul, whom they deem “puppets”.