No breakthrough as Pompeo meets Taliban, Kabul negotiators in Doha

DOHA: US secretary of state Mike Pompeo met Afghan authorities and Taliban negotiators in Doha Saturday, however there was no announcement of any breakthrough as Washington accelerates its navy withdrawal.
Pompeo’s go to got here within the wake of a rocket assault which struck densely populated areas of Kabul, killing at the very least eight folks within the newest outbreak of violence within the Afghan capital. The Taliban denied duty and the Islamic State group claimed the lethal strike.
Pompeo met individually with the Afghan authorities and Taliban negotiation groups in a luxurious resort within the Qatari capital along with his encounter with the novel Islamist insurgents lasting over an hour.
“I’d be most involved in getting your ideas on how we will enhance the chance of a profitable end result”, Pompeo mentioned as he met the Afghan authorities aspect, noting the shared curiosity in such a situation.
He additionally met Qatar’s ruler, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, and Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, the overseas minister, on his cease in Doha, which is the Taliban’s base for diplomacy.
But there was no announcement of any breakthrough in talks between the Taliban and the Afghan authorities, forward of Pompeo’s departure.
He flew on to Abu Dhabi for the following leg of his seven-nation tour of Europe and the Middle East, as President Donald Trump shores up late-term priorities.
Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation, instructed AFP the federal government and the Taliban had been “very shut” to breaking a impasse in talks.
“We are shut, we’re very shut. Hopefully we cross this section and get to the substantial points” together with safety, he mentioned throughout a go to to Turkey.
Earlier this week, the Pentagon mentioned it will quickly pull some 2,000 troops out of Afghanistan, rushing up the timeline established in a February settlement between Washington and the Taliban that envisions a full US withdrawal in mid-2021.
Trump has repeatedly vowed to finish “without end wars”, together with in Afghanistan, America’s longest-ever battle that started with an invasion to dislodge the Taliban following the September 11, 2001 assaults.
President-elect Joe Biden, in a uncommon level of settlement with Trump, additionally advocates winding down the Afghanistan battle, though analysts consider he is not going to be as wedded to a fast withdrawal.
The Taliban are talking to Afghanistan’s authorities for the primary time.
The talks began on September 12 in Doha however nearly instantly faltered over disagreements concerning the agenda, the fundamental framework of discussions and non secular interpretations.
Several sources instructed AFP on Friday that the 2 sides seem to have resolved a number of the points, nonetheless.
Among the sticking factors thus far, the Taliban and the Afghan authorities have struggled to agree on widespread language on two important points.
The Taliban, who’re Sunni hardliners, are insisting on adherence to the Hanafi college of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence, however authorities negotiators say this could possibly be used to discriminate in opposition to Hazaras, who’re predominantly Shiite, and different minorities.
Another contentious matter is how the US-Taliban deal will form a future Afghan peace deal and the way it is going to be referred to.
The Doha peace talks opened after the Taliban and Washington signed a deal in February, with the US agreeing to withdraw all overseas forces in trade for safety ensures and a Taliban promise to start out talks.
Despite the talks, violence has surged throughout Afghanistan, with the Taliban stepping up each day assaults in opposition to Afghan safety forces.
Trump’s plan to slash troops by January 15 — lower than per week earlier than his successor Joe Biden is to be sworn in to workplace — has been criticised in Afghanistan.
Saturday’s strike on the Afghan capital noticed a barrage of rockets slam into numerous elements of central and north Kabul — together with in and across the closely fortified Green Zone that homes embassies and worldwide corporations.
The Islamic State group mentioned in a press release that 28 Katyusha rockets had been fired by “troopers of the caliphate”.
Afghanistan’s Interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian had earlier blamed the Taliban, saying “terrorists” had fired a complete of 23 rockets. However, the Taliban denied duty, saying they “don’t blindly hearth on public locations”.

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