Pompeo: Weekend Afghan Visit Was ‘Very Frustrating’

Says he will continue to try to work out a deal within Afghanistan

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s weekend visit to Afghanistan didn’t go well, and hopes to reconcile self-proclaimed presidents Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah failed disastrously, to the point Pompeo issued a tirade declaring them both to be acting contrary to US interests.

On Wednesday, Pompeo conceded that the visit was “very frustrating,” although he remains optimistic about ultimately convincing the two sides of reconciliation. So far there appears to be little interest in that from either president.

The Afghan election ended in dispute, with both candidates declaring victory and holding competing inaugurations. The same thing happened in the last election, but the US worked out a power-sharing deal quickly then. This time, the US only started trying to talk directly after inaugurations, and it seems much more difficult.

With no deal at hand, the US slashed $1 billion off aid to Afghanistan for 2020, and has threatened to cut another $1 billion for 2021. Despite Pompeo’s talk of negotiations, the US strategy seems to be threatening cuts until they get what they want.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.