US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday said that violence in Afghanistan is “unacceptably high” and that Washington has asked the warring parties to “stand back and indeed stand down.”
According to Reuters report, Pompeo’s comments, made in a virtual address to the IISS Manama Dialogue, an annual security conference.
His comments came two days after a breakthrough in the peace negotiations in Doha.
Pompeo said that he met with the negotiating teams during a Nov. 21 visit to Doha and he told both sides that the strife must be reduced.
“I made clear to them that the violence levels can’t continue while these negotiations go on and it won’t work,” Pompeo said as quoted by Reuters.
“We’ve asked all of them to stand back and indeed stand down in that respect,” Pompeo said, adding that he hoped that the sides can begin to address some of the “front end” issues, including a nationwide ceasefire.
Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem on Friday said ceasefire will be on the agenda among other topics in the negotiations.
He said in a tweet that the agenda will be made in agreement with both sides.
“A ceasefire upon which the Afghan government insists and the establishment of an Islamic system that the Taliban urge could be there (at the talks),” said Sayed Akbar Agha, a former Taliban commander.