Pompeo meets with Afghan, Taliban leadership in Qatar


Nov. 21 (UPI) — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Afghan and Taliban negotiators in Qatar Friday to work through a deadlock in peace negotiations.

The outgoing top diplomat arrived in the country hours after a rocket strike in Kabul, Afghanistan, killed 11 people and injured more than two dozen others.


The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Pompeo told negotiators the United States would “sit on the side and help where we can” and discussed ways to reduce violence in the country, according to a State Department spokesman.

Afghanistan’s government began negotiating in September in Doha after signing a deal in February, under which the U.S. agreed to withdraw foreign troops in exchange for a commitment from the Taliban to begin negotiating.

Earlier this month the United States promised to withdraw 2,500 troops from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Pompeo also met with Qatari leader Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the deputy prime minister and the foreign prime minister, and thanked him for Qatar’s military partnership at the Al Udeid Air Base.

Pompeo and Al-Thani also discussed the need to work together to confront threats to stability in the region.

The Qatar visit is the latest stop on a 10-day, seven-nation tour of the Middle East and Europe that began last week.

On Friday Pompeo wrapped what’s expected to be his final trip to Israel as U.S. secretary of state by visiting a museum in Jerusalem founded by an evangelical supporter of President Donald Trump.