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Pompeo hopes for serious reduction in violence in Afghanistan

Pompeo hopes for serious reduction in violence in Afghanistan

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14 Feb 2020 - 09:27
Pompeo hopes for serious reduction in violence in Afghanistan
author avatar
14 Feb 2020 - 09:27

KABUL.

Speaking to reporters on board a plane to the Munich Security Conference where he is expected to meet Ghani, said talks had “made real progress over the past couple of days”. “We hope we can get to a place where we can get a significant reduction in violence not only on a piece of paper but demonstrated, the capability to actually deliver a serious reduction in violence in Afghanistan,” he said.

“If we can get there, if we can hold that posture for a while, then we’ll be able to begin the real, serious discussion, which is all the Afghans sitting at a table, finding a true reconciliation, a path forward.”

Washington and the Afghan militants have been locked in gruelling talks that have stretched over more than a year, seeking an end to what has already become America’s longest war.

Citing Afghan and US officials, the New York Times had reported that President Donald Trump had given conditional approval to a deal with the Taliban to allow him to start withdrawing US troops.

“It will be a difficult set of conversations, one that’s long overdue,” Pompeo said. “It would also give us the opportunity to reduce the footprint not only for America’s forces there but for all forces.”

The United States currently has between 12,000 and 13,000 troops in Afghanistan, more than 18 years after it invaded the country to overthrow the then Taliban government in the wake of the Sept 11 attacks.

The only other time there has been a Taliban ceasefire since the government’s overthrow was in 2018, during the three days of Eidul Fitr.

It led to moving scenes such as Afghans sharing ice cream with Taliban fighters and snapping selfies. But afterwards, the violence resumed.

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