On Monday Mike Pompeo , US Secretary of State, called for ‘demonstrable evidence’ from the Taliban to prove they can and will reduce violence before signing an agreement of cease-fire leading to Afghanistan peace talks and a withdrawal of American troops from the country.
At a news conference in neighboring Uzbekistan Pompeo said : ‘We’re working on a peace and reconciliation plan, putting the commas in the right place, getting the sentences right’. ‘We got close once before to having an agreement: a piece of paper that we mutually executed and the Taliban were unable to demonstrate either their will or capacity or both to deliver on a reduction in violence’, he added, ‘So, what we are demanding now is demonstrable evidence of their will and capacity to reduce violence, to take down the threat, so the inter-Afghan talks … will have a less violent context’. ‘We’re hopeful we can achieve that but we’re not there yet, and work certainly remains’. Pompeo concluded.
Only two days before Uzbekistan conference US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad arrived in Kabul and told Afghan President Ashraf Ghani there has been “no notable progress” in talks with the Taliban. However, Khalilzad was still hopeful to reach an agreement with the organization on a reduction of hostilities, without specific time schedule. Khalilzad has been working on negotiation in Afghanistan since 2018. The White House tasked him with achieving a peaceful end of war that would allow the US to bring home its estimated 13,000 soldiers and end its longest military engagement. He has held multiple rounds of talks with the Taliban in the Mideastern state of Qatar where the militant group maintains a political office.
Up to the current moment the Taliban disagrees to talk to Afghan President Ghani’s government. Ghani has not succeeded in finding a compromise within his team with Abdullah, his partner in Afghanistan’s Unity Government. Abdullah accuses the president of foiling efforts at peace by imposing new conditions on talks.