ISLAMABAD — Far expected negotiations between Afghanistan’s warring parties are most likely to be”controversial,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cautioned Friday but would be the only way ahead if Afghans are to seek peace after years of constant battle.
Pompeo made his remarks on the way to the Middle Eastern State of Qatar, where intra-Afghan discussions would be to start Saturday, a day mainly earmarked for service ahead of the tricky job of hammering out a street map to get a postsecondary Afghanistan starts.
The discussions were laid out at a peace agreement Washington brokered with all the Taliban and signed in Doha on Feb. 29 geared toward ending the war and bringing U.S. troops dwelling finishing America’s longest battle.
“It has taken us more than I wish it needed to get from February 29 to here however we anticipate Saturday morning, for the very first time in nearly two years, to possess the Afghans sitting at the table collectively ready to get what will be controversial talks about how to move their country ahead to decrease violence and send exactly what the Afghan people are demanding — a reconciled Afghanistan using a government which reflects a nation that is not at war,” Pompeo said about the plane taking him to Doha.
“It is their country to determine how to proceed and create a better life for many Afghan people,” he explained.
President Donald Trump chose the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan a guarantee before the 2016 presidential election. In the countdown for the November’s presidential polls, Washington has awakened pressure to begin intra-Afghan discussions.
Though delays have plagued the beginning of discussions, Washington started withdrawing any of its 13,000 troops following the Feb. 29 bargain was signed.
Withdrawal of the rest of the troops doesn’t hinge on the achievement of intra-Afghan discussions but instead the commitment made by the Taliban from the deal to resist terrorists groups which could endanger the U.S. and its allies.
Pompeo in his remarks made it clear that the U.S. was prepared to return soldiers to Afghanistan when it saw a danger emerging along with the Taliban reneged on their responsibilities.
“Our dedication to reducing our forces into zero is conditioned on those executing their duties under the arrangement (that is) so quite clear in their responsibilities concerning terrorist activity occurring in Afghanistan,” Pompeo explained.
“It is very apparent that the violence amounts need to return to acceptable levels,” he explained.
In Kabul that the Afghan delegation was readying to go to Dubai such as Abdullah Abdullah, who heads the High Council for National Reconciliation, the potent umbrella group which will oversee the discussion team led by former intelligence chief Mohammed Masoom Stanikzai. Abdullah’s appointment to head the council was a part of a power-sharing agreement with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, finishing their weeks of squabbling on the outcomes of contentious presidential polls annually earlier.
A Taliban official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to deal with the media, said Friday the last six inmates held by the Kabul authorities arrived late Thursday at Doha. Both were among 5,000 Taliban captive the U.S. peace agreement called on the Afghan authorities to spare before the beginning of discussions. The Taliban were needed to free 1,000 military and government employees.
Prisoner releases were a huge cause of a delay at the beginning of discussions as well as the previous six were considered to have been held since both Australia and France balked in their launch. Their coming in Doha clears the last hurdle to the beginning of discussions.
Nobody took immediate responsibility for the assault, though the two Taliban and the Islamic State affiliate are busy in southern Afghanistan.
Associated Press writer Rahim Faiez at Kabul, Afghanistan contributed to the report