Tuesday September 26, 2023

US wants Pakistan, allies help impose Taliban ceasefire

June 09, 2018

WASHINGTON: The Trump administration seeks support from Pakistan and other ally countries in imposing the limited duration ceasefire announced by the Afghan government.

Without naming the partner countries directly, a senior State Department official on Thursday told media representatives that the administration was hopeful that "both the Taliban and those organisations or countries that have some degree of influence with the Taliban will equally support this limited duration ceasefire."

It is pertinent to mention that the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo communicated with Pakistan’s Army Chief, General Qamar Bajwa a few hours later and discussed not just the bilateral relationship but also the "need for political reconciliation in Afghanistan, and the importance of targeting all militant and terrorist groups in South Asia without distinction." The US believed that Pakistan has some certain leverage and influence on the Taliban and have asked help, in the past, to bring the group to table. Other US officials have voiced a political solution between the Afghan government and the Taliban as well.

The State Department official also clarified that the ceasefire does not apply to ISIS or al Qaeda; nor does it prohibit operations to defend Afghan and coalition forces from attack. The Afghan government this week proposed the short duration ceasefire with the Taliban.

The administration welcomed the offer saying that it "underscores the Afghan government's continued commitment to searching for ways to bring the conflict to a close end, while looking for ways to reduce its horrible impact on the Afghan people."

Even though the Taliban has not replied to the Afghan government's ceasefire, the administration relies on the fact that the group has neither rejected the offer. "Just as they have not formally rejected President Ghani's offer for a settlement process provided back in February at the Kabul Process - it indicates they may be prepared to entertain it and observe it," the official said.

Secretary Mike Pompeo also issued a statement calling on and looking to the Taliban to respond favorably hoping that "other countries who have supported the Afghan government's efforts to promote a peaceful settlement to the conflict would also be encouraging them to do so."

Answering a question, the senior State Department official said that the administration continues to support and explore, along with allies and other partners in the coalition, the best way to promote a political settlement that would stem from talks between the main parties to this conflict in the form of the Taliban and the Afghan government. "It’s important to remember it [the Kabul Process Conference] was endorsed by every country in the region and all the members of the coalition and all the other significant interested parties and countries trying to find that formula that brings about a peaceful settlement," the senior State Department official said.

"The question here is how we can all best continue to work to create that settlement process in a way that brings the conflict to a close. And obviously, a number of governments have a role to play in producing that result, and there are a range of ongoing conversations between the United States and allies and partners and other governments about how we can best achieve that result," the official added.