Pompeo says United States prepared to remove troops from Afghanistan

A seventh round of talks between the warring sides begins on Saturday in Qatar’s capital of Doha. — Reuters  File

A seventh round of talks between the warring sides begins on Saturday in Qatar’s capital of Doha. — Reuters File

"We've made clear to the Taliban that we're prepared to remove our forces".

Speaking from the U.S. Embassy in the Afghan capital of Kabul, Pompeo said that he wanted to "set the record straight" after "a number of errant, sometimes different, reports over the past few months about American diplomacy in Afghanistan".

With the global media presence in Afghanistan sharply reduced since the withdrawal of worldwide troops in 2014, domestic media outlets have filled the gap but their work has become increasingly hard.

Pompeo stopped over on his way to New Delhi for meetings with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other officials.

Pompeo said on Tuesday that peace was "our priority" and that the USA was seeking to "lay the groundwork for a stable and prosperous post-settlement future for Afghanistan".

He said peace was Washington's "highest priority".

He said the two sides are almost ready to conclude a draft text outlining the Taliban's commitment to join fellow Afghans in ensuring that Afghan soil never again becomes a safe haven for "terrorists".

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The Taliban have insisted that foreign troops must leave, and refused to speak with the Afghan government in Kabul, whom they deem "puppets".

The Office of the Former President in a statement said the ex-President Hamid Karzai, President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah met with the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Dilgosha Palace of ARG Presidential Palace.

In return for the withdrawal of foreign forces, the United States is demanding the Taliban guarantee that Afghanistan will not be used as a base for militant attacks. The International Federation of Journalists said 16 journalists were killed past year.

"Those who continue doing so will be recognised by the group as military targets who are helping the Western-backed government of Afghanistan", it said, adding "reporters and staff members will not remain safe". Thousands of Afghan soldiers, police and Taliban were also killed.

"More violence, against journalists or civilians, will not bring security and opportunity to Afghanistan, nor will it help the Taliban reach their political objectives", he said.

Last September the U.S. began a fresh push to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table to end America's longest war.

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