Millennium Post

'Afghan peace talks dead, US to keep pressure on Taliban'

WASHINGTON DC: Talks on bringing peace to Afghanistan are on hold and the United States will keep pressuring Taliban militants while providing military support to Afghan troops until it sees significant Taliban commitments, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday.

U.S. President Donald Trump unexpectedly announced on Saturday that he had canceled peace talks with the Taliban's "major leaders" at the Camp David, Maryland, presidential compound after the group claimed responsibility for a Kabul attack last week that killed a U.S. soldier and 11 other people.

The United States has recalled U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad to Washington to chart the path forward, Pompeo said on "Fox News Sunday." Asked whether Afghan talks were dead, Pompeo said, "For the time being they are."

U.S. diplomats have been talking with Taliban representatives for months seeking to secure a plan to withdraw thousands of American troops in exchange for security guarantees by the Taliban.

Pompeo said the United States will not let up on military support for Afghan troops until the Taliban take the necessary steps to show they are serious about peace.

"If the Taliban don't behave, if they don't deliver on the commitments that they've made to us now for weeks, and in some cases months, the president is not going to reduce the pressure, we're not going to reduce our support for the Afghan security forces that have fought so hard there in Afghanistan," Pompeo said in an interview with CNN's "State of the Union."

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