KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo left Afghanistan on Monday without saying whether he was able to broker an agreement between the country’s squabbling political leaders.
Pompeo was in Kabul on an urgent visit to try to move forward a U.S. peace deal signed last month with the Taliban. He’d traveled thousands of miles despite a near-global travel shutdown because of the coronavirus pandemic, at a time when world leaders and statesmen are curtailing official travel.
But as his plane took off from Kabul, there was still no announcement on whether he’d worked out a solution to Afghanistan’s political impasse between Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his main rival, Abdullah Abdullah. There were reports in the Afghan capital that Pompeo had given Ghani and Abdullah until Tuesday to come up with a compromise, but there was no indication either side had offered to step aside.
From Kabul, Pompeo flew to Doha, Qatar, where he witnessed the signing of the U.S.-Taliban deal on Feb. 29 and where he was to meet with Taliban officials, including Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a co-founder of the Taliban and head of their political office in Qatar. Baradar signed the agreement on behalf of the group. The State Department said Pompeo’s aim was “to press the Taliban to continue to comply with the agreement signed last month.”
Since the U.S.-Taliban deal was signed, the peace process has stalled amid political turmoil in Afghanistan, as Ghani and Abdullah remained deadlocked over who was elected president in last September’s presidential polls. They both declared themselves president in dueling inauguration ceremonies earlier this month.
Pompeo had met separately with Ghani and then Abdullah on Monday before meeting together with both leaders.