Pompeo Heads to Qatar to Meet Taliban Officials

Will be highest level talks ever between US and Taliban

Mike Pompeo’s visit to Afghanistan didn’t go so well on the topic of a power-sharing deal, but there is still hope that intra-Afghan talks made some progress, as the Secretary of State has followed up on the trip to visit Qatar and meet top Taliban figures.

The State Department says this will be the highest level ever face-to-face talks between the US and Taliban, as Pompeo will meed Mullah Baradar, a chief negotiator and a top figure in the Taliban organization.

The talks are meant to center on the US urging the Taliban to keep the process going, while the Taliban will doubtless raise the issue of prisoner releases. The US peace deal promised them 5,000 prisoners, and the Afghan government hasn’t released any so far.

There’s already some hint of progress on that, as Taliban and Afghan officials “met” via Skype call over the weekend. Pompeo’s visit ideally will be able to build on that, though what’s actually been agreed to remains largely unknown.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.