President Ghani on Friday met with key US and NATO officials including US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper, the US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and NATO and US forces commander in Afghanistan Gen. Scott Miller.
They discussed the Afghan peace process — among other topics, according to the Presidential Palace.
In this meeting, the US defense and state secretaries stressed that the agreement with the Taliban that will be signed within the next few weeks is conditions-based, the Palace statement read.
Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Esper said the Taliban might spread propaganda – about the agreement – but the reality is that they are ready to “quit violence” and “acknowledge a pluralistic society,” the statement read.
The two sides, in the meeting, discussed mechanisms that will guarantee the Afghan government’s observation and ownership of the peace process, the statement added.
According to the statement, President Ghani will begin “a series of consultations” with the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, the civil society and political groups next week to make them aware of the details – of the peace talks developments – and to discuss opportunities and possible risks.
Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas hailed reports on Friday of a possible truce between the United States and the Taliban as a “real opportunity,” the Associated Press reported.
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, Maas said: “In together, out together should remain the guiding principle from Germany’s point of view.”
“We view the reports on an agreement between the US and the Taliban as a real opportunity. For long-term peace to come out of this, there need to be real intra-Afghan negotiations in which the achievements of recent years are not dialed back,” he said as quoted by AP.
This comes as the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a phone conversation with Afghan government leaders – President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah – last week informed them about “notable progress” in the US-Taliban talks and the Taliban’s willingness for a reduction in violence.