DOHA, Qatar – Working committees of the Afghan government and the Taliban delegations on Saturday held a warm-up session on intra-Afghan peace negotiations after months of struggle on the procedural rules.
The committees are expected to hold the second meeting Sunday, according to sources, leaving the nation on high expectation of a potential peace deal the soonest.
The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dubs the heads-up “another positive step” towards peace and prosperity in Afghanistan.
“We welcome the first meeting of the Leadership Committee of the Afghanistan High Council for National Reconciliation, an inclusive and authoritative body on peace efforts,” he said in a tweet. “This is another positive step forward.”
Addressing the ongoing war that has intensified throughout Afghanistan more recently, Pompeo said the current scale of violence amid peace negotiations is not acceptable, calling for Taliban to “stand down” and put efforts together for a comprehensive ceasefire.
“I made clear to them that the violence levels can’t continue while these negotiations go on. It won’t work,” said Pompeo, as TOLOnews quoted. “And so, we’ve asked all of them to stand back and indeed stand down. In that respect, I hope we can begin to start to address some of the front-end issues about a cease-fire here before too long.”
On September 12, the Afghan and Taliban delegations formally launched intra-Afghan negotiations, but have since then struggled on ground rules to push through the process.