Pompeo Meets Taliban’s Deputy Leader in Qatar

Two discuss ways to better implement peace deal, prisoner swap

After Monday’s meetings with Afghan officials, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Qatar, and on Tuesday met with Mullah Barader, the deputy head of the Taliban and the group’s chief negotiator for the US peace deal.

The Taliban offered substantial details on the talks, certainly more than the State Department has yet. They revealed Pompeo and Barader talked of ways to improve the existing US-Taliban peace, and to facilitate the prisoner swap.

In the deal, the US promised that the Afghan government would release 5,000 prisoners, a deal that came without the Afghan government agreeing to it. Since then, the Afghan government has released no one, and that is slowing intra-Afghan talks, and threatening the peace.

The US has chided the Afghan government for that, and it was doubtless part of what Pompeo spoke to them about, though the State Department has been vague on that matter. The Afghan government and Taliban did hold a meeting via Skype over the weekend, however, suggesting they may be hope for progress there.

Pompeo and Barader’s meeting represents the highest level US-Taliban meeting ever, which is a good sign if both are to make a serious peace deal.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.