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Pompeo says Afghan negotiating team looks 'pretty inclusive'

01 Apr 2020 1TV News

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday praised an Afghan government negotiating team selected to hold talks with the Taliban as looking to be pretty broad and inclusive.

"We have seen a team identified.Looks like it’s pretty inclusive, pretty broad," Pompeo said at a news conference. "We’re happy about that."

Pompeo also said there was progress on the issue of prisoner releases which were agreed between the US and the Taliban in their deal over a month ago.

"We’ve begun to see some work done on prisoner releases as well, all elements that have to come together so we can get to the intra-Afghan negotiations, which will ultimately prove to be the only mechanism that has any hope of delivering peace and reconciliation to the people of Afghanistan," Pompeo said.

The Afghan government announced a 21-member team for Taliban talks last week, but the group rejected it as not being inclusive.

Pompeo said that the US will constantly re-evaluate its posture with respect to Afghanistan, "not only the security assistance and humanitarian aid and assistance we provide to them."

Referring to coronavirus, Pompeo said that the US would do everything it can to help Afghanistan battle the pandemic.

Pompeo also reiterated call on the Taliban to reduce violence.

"They have made real commitments about the level of violence, the nature of what will take place, what they will do as we proceed towards the path where intra-Afghan negotiations begin," Pompeo said.

"We have every expectation that the Taliban will hold up their end of the agreements that were put in place," he said.

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