US, Afghanistan Agree to Accelerate Peace Process

Pompeo says no change to Trump's South Asia strategy

US and Afghan officials have issued a joint statement saying that they have agreed to accelerate the peace process aimed at ending the 18 years of US occupation of Afghanistan, and reducing the US troop presence.

Exactly what that means isn’t entirely clear, but the statement came after a Wednesday phone call between Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Pompeo insists there is “no change to President Trump’s South Asia strategy.”

Afghan officials were very keen to speak to someone at the State Department after President Trump’s recent talk of how he could wipe Afghanistan off the face of the Earth, but has chosen not to. Pompeo’s assurance about the lack of policy change seems meant to assure Ghani that the US still isn’t considering the wholesale murder.

The US has been progressing on a peace deal with the Taliban for months, but the Afghan government’s involvement so far has been very limited. The new statement may suggest that the Ghani government is more willing to engage in power-sharing.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.