US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lauded Afghan peace talks, which kicked off in Qatar on Saturday, saying the effort was “truly a momentous occasion” for the country.
The talks mark the first time the Taliban and the Afghan government have met face to face to end decades of violence which has engulfed the country. The US and Taliban signed a separate deal in February that promised a phased withdrawal over US troops over the next 14 months. In exchange, the Taliban promised to halt attacks on US soldiers and prevent the re-emergence of Al Qaeda or similar terrorist groups in the territory they control. The Afghan government was notably not part of the US-Taliban accord.
“Afghans have at long last chosen to sit together and chart a new course for your country. This is a moment that we must dare to hope. As we look toward the light, we recall the darkness of four decades of war and