Despite President Donald Trump announcing the decision to call off US-Taliban peace talks, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday said that the administration is still working toward a deal and but it will not proceed until the Taliban delivers on its commitments. The United States' move came after the Taliban last week took the responsibility for the attack in Kabul in which 10 people, including an American soldier, were killed.
Earlier in the day, Trump announced that he is calling off the peace negotiations with the Taliban and is also cancelling a "secret meeting" with the Taliban representatives at Camp David. Speaking to CNN, Pompeo said that the President made a "right decision" and recant of the meeting was a signal that if the Taliban does not behave, then the US is not going to reduce the pressure.
"I think as you saw, if the Taliban don't behave, if they don't deliver...the President of the United States is not going to reduce the pressure," he said. "It was the case that when the Taliban tried to gain a negotiating advantage by conducting terror attacks inside the country, President Trump made the right decision to walk away," Pompeo said. "It made no sense for the Taliban to be rewarded for that kind of bad behaviour."
Despite Trump's statement that he was ending the peace talks, Pompeo said the administration is still working toward a deal and was seemingly close to one before Thursday's bombing in Kabul. "There's still more work to do...but in the end, it won't be about the commitment, it'll be about their delivery," he said. "We're going to keep driving toward that outcome."
The US has been negotiating with the Taliban in the last few months at Doha despite the group's reluctance to hold direct talks with the Afghan government, which it views as a US puppet. Earlier this week, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said that the Trump administration had reached a deal "in principle" to withdraw over 5,000 troops from Afghanistan in exchange for guarantees by the Taliban. (ANI)
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