Pompeo Attempts to Bridge Divide Between Taliban, Kabul in Doha Talks
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met separately with negotiators from both the Afghan government and the Taliban during his visit to Qatar on Saturday, as Washington attempts to restart the sides’ stalled peace talks following last week’s announcement of a further reduction of American forces in Afghanistan. Nearing the end of his 10-day farewell tour to Europe and the Middle East, Pompeo also met Qatar’s ruler, Emir Sheikh Tamim Al Thani, during his stop in Doha. “I would be most interested in getting your thoughts on how we can increase the probability of a successful outcome,” Pompeo told the Kabul delegation. The Afghan government – supported by the US, and the extremist Taliban group, which has continually carried out massive terror attacks against Afghan security forces and civilians, began negotiations over a power-sharing agreement at the behest of Washington and after a deal between the US and the Taliban was reached earlier this year outlining a complete withdrawal of US troops from the country. NATO officials in Afghanistan last week warned that President Donald Trump’s recent plan to pull out 2,000 more soldiers, less than a week before his successor Joe Biden is sworn in, will embolden the Taliban to harden its stance. For more on this click here.