AT News Report
KABUL: The High Peace Council (HPC) says that the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo’s recent statements on the Afghan peace process caused hopes.
Pompeo met President Ashraf Ghani in an unannounced visit to Kabul on Tuesday, where he hoped to reach a peace deal with the Taliban insurgents by September, referring to the deal before presidential contest slated for late September.
“Afghans yearn for peace and we share their desire to end of conflict,” Pompeo said on Twitter after his visit. “Peace would offer Afghans and the wider region a different future, one which we are ready to support.”
Ghafoor Javid, a spokesman for the peace council, a government-funded body responsible for arranging talks between the government and Taliban, said on Wednesday that the seventh round of US-Taliban negotiations would be expected as the beginning of intra-Afghan dialogues.
“Direct and official negotiations can resolve the problems sooner and help us reach an agreement,” said Javid. “We hope Taliban’s negotiations with Khalilzad will lead to face to face talks between Taliban and the government of Afghanistan.
The US special representative for Afghanistan peace, Zalmay Khalilzad is scheduled to sit in front of Taliban negotiators on Saturday for the seventh round of negotiations.
Taliban and Khalilzad have so far negotiated the US withdrawal and that Afghanistan would never be used by international terrorist organizations to threaten US security.
Pompeo said in Kabul that Washington and Taliban had got closer to finalize a draft of counterterrorism. But he said that nothing was finalized because it was impossible to deal over a single issue.
The US urges direct talks between Taliban and Kabul, but the militants have not yet accept to sit with what they disparage as the US “stooge”.
He also said that it was time for Pakistan to have practical cooperation with the Afghan peace.
President Ghani is set to fly to Islamabad today (Thursday) to discuss “very important matters” with Prime Minister Imran Khan, including the peace process.