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Pompeo in Kabul on unannounced visit to discuss Taliban deal with Afghan political rivals

23 Mar 2020 RT - Russia Today

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in the Afghan capital on Monday on a previously unannounced visit to try to salvage a deal between Washington and the Taliban. The agreement was struck in February but is still marred by a political feud.

Pompeo met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at his palace before meeting his political rival Abdullah Abdullah. Both of them say they are Afghanistan’s rightful leader following a disputed election in September, Reuters said.

The standoff has stalled the selection of a negotiating team to represent the Afghan government in planned talks with the Taliban. The purpose of Pompeo’s visit is to try to mediate a solution between the two men, a senior State Department official said. 

The Afghan government was not a party to the US-Taliban deal, signed in Doha on February 29. However, the agreement aimed to pave the way for the Taliban to negotiate with the Afghan government. The deal also included a pact to withdraw foreign troops that would effectively end the US longest war.

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