The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who arrived in Kabul for an unannounced visit on Tuesday said that he hopes that Afghanistan will achieve a peace deal ahead of the Presidential Elections – scheduled for September 28.
“I hope we have a peace deal before September 1st. That’s certainly our mission,” he said.
In his visit to Kabul, Pompeo held talks with Afghan leaders. He said that in his meetings with President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, they agreed that peace is their highest priority and that Afghanistan must never serve as a platform for international terrorism.
He said that the United States is ready to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan but added that the US has not provided the Taliban with the timeline.
“While we have made it clear to the Taliban we are prepared to remove our forces, I want to be clear, we have not yet agreed on a timeline to do so,” he said.
He said the United States has not forgotten Afghanistan.
He added that the peace talks will move forward parallel with detailed talks with the government of Afghanistan.
“Simultaneously, the United States is laying the ground force for intra-Afghan negotiations to begin as soon as possible. Objective of those negotiations is for Afghans to agree on a timeline and a political roadmap for reaching a comprehensive peace agreement,” he added.
He said that the US welcomes Germany’s preparation for hosting a meeting on Afghan peace.
“As for our next diplomatic step, we welcome Germany’s commitment with Qatar to convene an intra-Afghan dialogue next month,” he said. “This is an opportunity for Afghans to endorse the urgent need for intra-Afghan negotiations.”
Pompeo said that the US is expecting practical measures by Pakistan on Afghan peace.
“Pakistan has a particular important role to play in this process and in the promotion of peace and stability in the region,” he said. “Progress has been made and we will continue to look to Pakistan practical measures, cooperation on peace talks and the implementation of any agreement.”