WASHINGTON: Mike Pompeo has hailed “a pretty important breakthrough” in Afghan peace talks, as officials confirmed that the Taliban had agreed to a partial week-long ceasefire as a precursor to broader peace talks and the withdrawal of at least some US troops.
But the US secretary of state said that Washington still wanted to see a significant reduction in violence before formal negotiations could begin. “If we can get there – if we can hold that posture for a while – then we’ll be able to begin the real, serious discussion which is all the Afghans sitting at a table,” Pompeo said on Thursday.
His comments came after the defense secretary, Mark Esper, confirmed the partial ceasefire following a Nato meeting in Brussels.
Donald Trump is reported to have given a green light to a deal that would cut US troop numbers if the Taliban deliver on their offer of a lull in their attacks as a gesture of good faith.
On Thursday Trump said the US was “very close” to a deal with the Taliban. “I think there’s a good chance that we’ll have a deal … We’re going to know over the next two weeks,” he told the reporters.