US Secretary of State Warns High Level of Violence in Afghanistan Threatens Peace Talks

The negotiations process between the Afghan government and the Taliban will fail if the high level of violence continues, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday.

On Wednesday, representatives from Kabul and the Taliban during talks in Doha agreed on the rules and procedures governing the ongoing peace negotiations.

“The violence that is taking place in Afghanistan is unacceptably high,” Pompeo said during a virtual discussion at the IISS Manama Dialogue. “The violence cannot continue while these negotiations go on… they won’t work.”

He urged all interested parties to begin conversations on reducing the violence and expressed optimism of the success of these talks. Pompeo called this agreement “preliminary but very important.”

“Afghanistan is a diverse society, and we are working… to bring every element of that society to the table,” he said.
These conversations will take some time, Pompeo acknowledged.

The long-awaited peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban movement have been launched in Doha, Qatar, in mid-September.

Progress has been slow amid a series of disagreements and a surge in violence, including armed clashes and bomb blasts, in a number of Afghan provinces.

The US plans to reduce troop levels to 2,500 by mid-January as a result of a withdrawal agreement struck between Washington and the Taliban.

The insurgent group, in exchange, promised to engage the government in talks and not let the country become a terrorist safe haven.

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