U.S. President Donald Trump met Friday with his national security team to discuss the U.S. negotiations with the Afghan Taliban, the White House said. "Many on the opposite side of this 19-year war, and us, are looking to make a deal - if possible!"
"Just completed a very good meeting on Afghanistan".
"We are working diligently on the path forward in Afghanistan", Pompeo said in a statement. Also present were national security adviser John Bolton, Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Zalmay Khalilzad, the envoy who has led the USA side in talks with the Taliban.
"Any peace agreement which denies the US a robust counter-terrorism capability in Afghanistan is not a peace deal", he said in a statement. It may be noted that the Taliban, so far, have consistently refused to hold direct talks with President Ashraf Ghani's government, denouncing it as a puppet administration. But the Taliban have continued to sideline the Kabul government, which it dismisses as a USA puppet, and it has not agreed to a permanent cease-fire. The Taliban now control roughly half of Afghanistan and are at their strongest since 2001, when the USA -led invasion toppled their government after it harbored al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
Officials on August 16 said Trump was meeting with his top advisers to review negotiations with the extremist group about a possible US troop pullout from war-ravaged Afghanistan and the potential for a political settlement in the almost 18-year conflict.
Ghani said Sunday, during a speech on the first day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, that a decision this monumental couldn't be left to an outsider. Reports of the Trump administration planning for a US troop drawdown in Afghanistan compound the legitimate concern among many that the Taliban will fail to uphold its end of the bargain in the event an agreement is struck.
"Any peace agreement which denies the US a robust counter-terrorism capability in Afghanistan is not a peace deal", he said in a statement.
"The explosion took place while Hafiz Ahmadullah was reading sermon". Allow no poisonous propaganda to disturb your patriotism. "Hafiz Ahmadullah was killed", one said. The Taliban have vowed to disrupt the election by attacking polling centers and campaign rallies.
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A day after the warning, a Taliban auto bomb targeting Afghan security forces killed 14 people and wounded more than 140, mostly children, women and other civilians.
The latest round of peace talks between the Taliban and the United States ended early Monday without final resolution.
The officials said the differences center on US demands that the insurgents publicly denounce ties to al-Qaida and other terror groups and agree to a nationwide cease-fire.
Trump has been adamant that he would like to withdraw US forces, possibly ahead of the November 2020 election. The talks, attended by Vice-President Mike Pence, secretary of state Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton among others, were held at Trump's golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Friday.
The blast comes at a delicate moment as a deal between the insurgents and Washington to end America's war in Afghanistan is believed to be imminent. "Certain that al-Qaida, ISIS, and other radical Islamic groups are not interested in the war ending", Graham added.
Meanwhile, there are fears that a deal would hand the country over to the Taliban.
Some 14,000 US troops remain engaged in America's longest war, training and advising Afghan security forces and conducting counterinsurgency operations against militant groups such as Al-Qaeda and Islamic State's local affiliate.
The foes have been negotiating in Doha over the past year for a pact that would see the Pentagon begin to withdraw its 14,000 troops from Afghanistan.