Afghan political leadership must ‘come together’: Pompeo

KABUL (TOLO News): Amid ongoing tensions between Afghan leaders, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters on Wednesday that the US needs all of the political leadership in Afghanistan to come together.

On Monday, Pompeo flew to Kabul to meet with President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah and then to Doha, Qatar to meet Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in the evening. His intention was help Ghani and Abdullah find a solution to their post-election quarrel, but he did not succeed.

On Monday evening, the US State Department issued an announcement that US aid to Afghanistan would be reduced by $1 billion–because of the failure of the Afghan leaders to form an inclusive government–and the statement warned that further cuts might follow in 2021.

“I’ll be honest, it was very frustrating,” Pompeo told reporters about his visit to Kabul early this week.

“We need all of the political leadership in Afghanistan to come together: President Ghani, Dr. Abdullah, all of those who have a shared interest in moving Afghanistan forward, in creating peace and reconciliation for the Afghan people, to better the lives for Afghan people, to come up with a team that can sit down and have conversations broadly with all Afghanis, intra-Afghan negotiations to resolve this set of outstanding issues. That is our expectation for the Afghan leadership,” he said.

He said that the US will continue to try and convince all the parties, the Taliban included, that it’s time for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

“The US force posture there, we’ve made clear to all our partners we are going to continue to evaluate that as we move forward. We have commitments. And as we execute this plan, we will watch the conditions. We’ve talked about this as a conditions-based plan. We will continue to live up to those to make all the parties live up to those conditions as we work our way forward,” he mentioned.

He also said that during his visited from Kabul, he not only met with President Ghani and with Dr. Abdullah, but also with security leaders and with the Taliban’s deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Doha.

“Every one of them understand that this isn’t going to be resolved on the ground with guns and mortars. This is going to be resolved through a political process, and it is time for that political process to begin with all the Afghans coming together around the table,” he added.

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