As mortar shells slammed right into a residential space of Afghanistan’s capital, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has held what are doubtless his final conferences with Taliban and Afghan Authorities negotiators making an attempt to barter peace.
- The assault happened in Kabul’s inexperienced zone, which homes overseas embassies and the presidential palace
- Violence has marred US-mediated peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan Authorities
- The assault comes every week after the US introduced a plan to scale back troops in Afghanistan from 4,500 to 2,000
The assault in Kabul, claimed by Islamic State militants, killed eight folks and wounded 31 folks on Saturday.
The assault got here as peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan Authorities have been underway in Qatar, the place Mr Pompeo instructed Afghan Authorities negotiators that Washington would “sit on the aspect and assist the place we will”.
Two Taliban officers instructed the Related Press the warring sides have discovered frequent floor on which to maneuver the stalled talks ahead.
The officers, who spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of they aren’t authorised to talk to journalists, didn’t elaborate.
‘Be vigilant in regards to the spoilers’
In Kabul, at the very least one of many 23 mortar rounds hit contained in the Iranian embassy compound.
No-one was wounded, nevertheless it broken the primary constructing, the embassy mentioned.
The native Islamic State affiliate issued an announcement claiming the assault that focused the so-called Inexperienced Zone in Kabul, which homes overseas embassies, the presidential palace and Afghan army compounds, based on the SITE Intelligence Group.
Abdullah Abdullah, the pinnacle of Afghanistan’s Excessive Council for Reconciliation, condemned the Kabul assault in a tweet, calling it a “cowardly” act.
The council oversees Kabul’s negotiations with the Taliban in Doha.
Pakistan, whose Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Kabul on Tuesday for the primary time since he got here to workplace, condemned the assault and warned “it is very important be vigilant towards the spoilers who’re working to undermine the peace efforts”, however he didn’t establish the spoilers.
Taliban refuse ceasefire as US withdraws extra troops
The US, alongside coalition forces, invaded Afghanistan in 2001 within the wake of Al Qaeda’s September 11 assaults, masterminded by Osama bin Laden, then a visitor of Afghanistan’s Taliban authorities.
These troops have remained within the nation ever since, and it has develop into America’s longest conflict.
Previous to changing into President, Donald Trump had repeatedly known as for the US to drag its troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and as Commander-In-Chief, he vowed to “finish the period of limitless wars”.
He has not managed to realize full withdrawal in both nation, however he has managed to scale back the size of US engagement.
Final week, Washington introduced it could withdraw one other estimated 2,500 troops earlier than the center of January, leaving about 2,000 troopers in Afghanistan.
In Doha, Mr Pompeo met with the co-founder of the Taliban, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who signed the peace settlement with Washington in February forward of the peace talks.
Taliban spokesperson Mohammad Naeem tweeted that additional prisoner releases have been mentioned within the assembly, along with those who the 2 sides dedicated to forward of peace talks beneath the US deal.
Mr Naeem mentioned the Taliban additionally repeated its demand that their leaders be faraway from the United Nations sanctions record.
For many Afghans, the overriding concern has been a pointy rise in violence this yr and a surge of assaults by the Taliban towards Afghanistan’s beleaguered safety forces because the begin of peace talks in September.
The Taliban have, nonetheless, held to their promise to not assault US and NATO troops.
The US’s deliberate troop withdrawal has lent better urgency to the negotiations and to the requires a discount in violence, which features a demand for a ceasefire by Kabul.
However the Taliban have refused and mentioned a ceasefire will likely be a part of additional negotiations.