The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that the Afghan peace talks are aimed at moving Afghanistan forward adding that Washington does not want Afghanistan to move back.
Speaking before the US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, Pompeo said Washington is trying to end the endless Afghan war through talks and in these talks, the achievements, especially women rights, will be preserved.
“We want to do everything we can to make sure that as Afghanistan moves forward, we don’t retrograde, we don’t go backwards on that,” said Pompeo.
Talking about the peace talks and engagement of the Afghan government in the process, Pompeo said the US is talking with the National Unity Government and it means the Afghan government is not sidelined in the talks.
In response to the question that why the US thinks today Taliban are more honest than 17 years ago, Pompeo said the US talks with the Taliban because the group controls significant amounts of resources in Afghanistan.
“We’re talking with the Government of National Unity. We’re speaking with the Taliban. We are working to get the two of them in the room together. We think we’re closer than we have been at any time in the last decade in achieving that. This will ultimately be a resolution that the Afghan people will have to achieve. With respect to why we’re talking to the Taliban is they control a significant amount of resources; and to get the reconciliation we need, to take down the violence level, the Taliban is going to have a say in that,” Pompeo added.
US prominent Senator Rand Paul meanwhile asked Pompeo that the US is spending $50 billion each year in Afghanistan which according to him is a waste of money in this long-lasting war.
“The President, like myself, complains endlessly about the $50 billion we’re wasting there every year. I also worry about the lives that we’re wasting there. You’re sending young men when there is no mission there,” said Rand Paul.
In response to this question, Pompeo said Washington is trying to end this war and that is why the US is putting pressure on the Afghan government and the Taliban to be part of the talks and accelerate the process.
He also said Washington has done its part in the Afghan peace talks insisting that Trump administration should not be criticized for not having done enough for the Afghans.
He said the US wants the Afghan people to play their roles in the talks.