U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a press conference with Afghan president Mohammad Ashraf Ghani (not in the picture) in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, July 9, 2018. The visiting U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday said that the United States supports an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace negotiations. (Xinhua/Rahmat Alizadah)
KABUL, July 9 (Xinhua) -- The visiting U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday said that the United States supports an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace negotiations.
The United States will support, facilitate and participate in this peace discussions, but peace must be decided by the Afghans, Pompeo told a joint press conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
"We expect that this peace talks include the discussions of the role of international actors and forces," Pompeo said.
On late February, in latest efforts to find a settlement for the lingering Afghan war, President Ghani presented an unconditional peace talks with the Taliban, offering recognition of the Taliban as a political party, allowing them to open office in Kabul, issue passports to their members and remove the names of senior Taliban commanders and leaders from the UN blacklists.
However, the Taliban outfit said that it was ready to talk with the United States over Afghan crisis but not with the Afghan government or its High Peace Council.
Over the past years, the insurgent group has categorically rejected the peace offer, saying there will be no talks until foreign troops leave the country.
Around 16,000 troops from the United States, NATO and other partner countries are in Afghanistan, training the Afghan forces within the framework of a NATO-led mission.