Pompeo meets with Taliban in Qatar after mortar barrage kills at least 8 in Kabul

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with a Taliban delegation hours after mortar shells slammed into other portions of Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, on Saturday, killing no less than 8 folks.

Fired from two vehicles, the 23 shells additionally wounded no less than 31 others, Inner Ministry spokesperson Tariq Arian instructed press.

The mortar barrage got here as Pompeo was once getting ready to satisfy with representatives of the Afghan govt and the Taliban, who’re conserving talks within the Arabian Gulf country of Qatar, even though growth has been sluggish.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid instructed NBC Information that the crowd weren’t liable for the early-morning assault, which was once later claimed via the ISIS associate, in keeping with SITE Intelligence Crew, which tracks violent extremist organizations.

The militant team has performed equivalent assaults previously and claimed accountability for fresh attacks in Kabul, together with two devastating assaults on tutorial establishments that killed greater than 50 folks, lots of them scholars.

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Saturday’s assault centered the upmarket Wazir Akbar Khan house of Kabul, which properties diplomatic missions. A minimum of one rocket landed within the Iranian Embassy compound, the embassy stated in a tweet on Saturday along a photograph of shrapnel however added no team of workers had been injured.

Abdullah Abdullah, the Afghan govt’s leader negotiator in peace talks, condemned Saturday’s assault in a tweet calling it a “cowardly” act. Including, “terrorizing and focused on the civilians will have to prevent.”

Individuals of Taliban’s peace negotiation crew met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo within the Qatari capital Doha, on Saturday. Patrick Semansky / Pool by means of AFP – Getty Photographs

Pompeo was once additionally anticipated to press for a discount in violence in his conferences with each Taliban and Afghan govt negotiating groups, all through his daylong prevent in Qatar’s capital Doha.

The U.S. signed an settlement with the Taliban in February to advertise a negotiated finish to the protracted warfare. Afghan govt and Taliban negotiators were assembly in Doha regularly to take a look at to dealer a peace deal however haven’t begun to yield any primary leap forward.

In the meantime, violence in Afghanistan has spiked in fresh months with more and more horrific assaults — many killing civilians.

There were requires a cease-fire if peace talks in Doha are to proceed. However the Taliban were steadfast of their refusal, hard that any cease-fire be a part of the broader negotiations.

Pompeo’s travel comes days after Performing Protection Secretary Christopher Miller stated on Tuesday that the U.S. will scale back troop ranges in Iraq and Afghanistan via mid-January.

Miller instructed newshounds on the Pentagon that the verdict fulfills President Donald Trump’s pledge to carry forces house from The united states’s lengthy wars — whilst some Republicans and U.S. allies warn of the hazards of taking flight ahead of prerequisites are proper.

The plan will boost up troop withdrawals in Trump’s ultimate days in workplace, in spite of arguments from senior army officers in desire of a slower, extra methodical pullout to keep hard-fought good points.

Miller stated the U.S. will scale back troop ranges in Afghanistan from greater than four,500 to two,500, and in Iraq from about three,000 to two,500. Including that the U.S. stays in a position to reply if prerequisites in Afghanistan or Iraq become worse.

The U.S. determination has already won a fab reception from some Republican leaders on Capitol Hill, and a quite blunt critique from NATO Secretary-Normal Jens Stoltenberg.

“We’ve got been in Afghanistan for just about 20 years, and no NATO best friend needs to stick any further than vital. However on the similar time, the associated fee for leaving too quickly or in an uncoordinated method might be very top,” Stoltenberg stated in a observation on Tuesday.

America has been in Afghanistan for 19 years, making it The united states’s longest struggle.

The Related Press contributed to this file.

Mushtaq Yusufzai contributed.

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