Pompeo Calls Taliban Chief on Afghan Peace Process

Pompeo pushes Taliban to cut violence

With the Taliban and Afghan government approaching the first intra-Afghan talks after a successful ceasefire, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held a video meeting with Taliban deputy chief Mullah Baradar, talking about the peace process and urging an advance to intra-Afghan talks.

Intra-Afghan talks are meant to have happened months ago, but stalled prisoner releases were delaying everything. Pompeo urged the prisoners be released, though he’s a bit late at that, since indications are that nearly everyone was released weeks ago.

Pompeo also gave lip-service to Afghan government demands to “reduce violence,” even though violence is vastly down, and all indications are the Eid al-Adha ceasefire held for all three days of festival weekend, which is a big part of why the talks are liable to happen whether Pompeo pushes them or not.

Still, some Afghan officials are still trying to stall the US pullout by suggesting that the Taliban is making deals with al-Qaeda, and Pompeo’s signal of support for peace talks may be a way to telling the Afghans that’s not going to happen.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.