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Pompeo says violence in Afghanistan must stop for peace process to move forward

Reuters , Thursday 5 Mar 2020
Pompeo
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers remarks to the media, in the Press Briefing Room, at the Department of State in March 5, 2020 in Washington,DC (Photo: AFP)
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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday the upsurge in violence in Afghanistan in recent days is unacceptable and said it must cease immediately for the peace process signed last weekend to move forward.

Speaking at a news conference at the State Department, Pompeo said all sides should stop posturing and prepare for the intra-Afghan negotiations, including practical discussions about prisoner releases.

"We know that the road ahead will be difficult. We expected it, we were right. The upsurge in violence in parts of Afghanistan over the last couple of days is unacceptable. In no uncertain terms violence must be reduced immediately for the peace process to move forward," Pompeo said.

The United States signed a deal with Taliban insurgents on Saturday that could pave the way toward a full withdrawal of foreign soldiers from Afghanistan and represent a step toward ending the 18-year-war in the nation.

Since the signing, the Taliban had decided on Monday to resume normal operations against Afghan forces, though sources have said they will continue to hold back on attacks on foreign forces.

Washington in response carried an air strike on Taliban fighters in Afghanistan on Wednesday. A U.S. forces spokesman said the Taliban fighters were actively attacking an Afghan checkpoint and the strike was a defensive one.

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