KABUL— U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Kabul on an unannounced visit on Monday and held high-level talks with the Afghan government. The top American diplomat and former head of the CIA met President Ashraf Ghani and discussed a wide range of issues including the resumption of peace talks with the Taliban.
During a joint press conference with Pres. Ashraf Ghani, Secretary Pompeo extended full support for Ghani’s peace efforts with Taliban and stated that the United States believes in an Afghan-owned and led peace efforts.
He furthered that the US will also seek Afghanistan’s neighboring countries support in the Afghan quest for peace.
Pompeo also touched upon the upcoming general elections in Afghanistan and said that it is vital to organize transparent and credible general elections.
Afghan President Ghani stated that the Afghan security forces are becoming better and stronger, however, Afghanistan still requires the support of Islamic countries to find a peaceful settlement to the Afghan conflict.
“A regional consensus Mr. Secretary is in the process of emerging. Also, we are grateful that the Islamic engagement through the endorsement of fatwas by the Imams of Makah and Madina has been a very strong step,” stated Ghani.
Pompeo said the U.S. South Asian strategy, that includes an increased level of troops and an increase on pressuring the Taliban to come to the negotiations table, is paying off. “That we will support them as they continue fighting to liberate their country and their people,” Pompeo added.
He went on to say that “Our South Asia strategy sent a clear message to the Afghan peoples and its security services that we will support them, as they continue to fight to defend their country and their people.”
Adding that. “Many of the Taliban now see that they can’t win on the ground militarily, that has everything to do with President Trump’s strategy.
He furthered that “the strategy sends a clear message to the Taliban that they cannot wait us out.”
In reference to the U.S. South Asian strategy, President Ashraf Ghani said that “We discussed President Trump’s South Asia strategy in detail and agreed that the strategy is indeed working. We also discussed the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process and the successful ceasefire.”
During this stop at the Bagram Air Force, he asked Americans troops “If there was a ceasefire for a few days, why not a few years?”
Pompeo’s surprise visit to Afghanistan comes two days before the NATO Summit in Brussels where the Afghan war will be once again discussed by NATO members. President Ghani will also attend the summit.