US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani “agreed to accelerate efforts” to end the war in Afghanistan on Thursday, according to a joint statement that was issued by the US State Department on Friday.
According to a joint statement, Mike Pompeo spoke to President Ghani over phone on Thursday and assured that “there has been no change to President Trump’s South Asia strategy, including US commitment to a conditions-based drawdown” of troops.
The statement also said that Pompeo and Ghani had agreed that “now is the time to accelerate efforts to reach a negotiated end to the war in Afghanistan”.
General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Washington’s special envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad were sent to Kabul to discuss the next steps on the road to peace in detail, the statement added.
On Tuesday, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani had asked US government to clarify about President Donald Trump’s remark where he claimed that “he could easily win the war in 10 days” but that he didn’t “want to kill millions of people”.
US President made several statements alongside Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House, including that he had plans for a quick end to the Afghan conflict, but which would “wipe the country off the face of the Earth”.
Trump said, “Afghanistan would be gone. It would be over in literally in 10 days”.
“I don’t want to go that route”, he added.
His comments sparked outrage in Afghanistan, where the war-weary and traumatised population is already worried about a precipitous pull-out of US forces and whether that means a return to Taliban rule and a spiralling civil war.
Earlier, the US had reportedly put pressure on Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to take “irreversible action” against terrorist and militant groups and to “facilitate peace talks” with the Taliban for intra-Afghan dialogue, according to the White House.