KABUL: The Resolute Support mission on Tuesday refuted media reports that quoted Gen. John Nicholson as saying the US was willing for direct negotiations with the Taliban.
Certain sections of media reported that Gen. Nicholson expressed America’s readiness for face-to-face talks with the Afghan Taliban during a visit with Afghan provincial and government representatives in Kandahar on July 16.
“The United States is not a substitute for the Afghan people or the Afghan government,” said Nicholson, the Resolute Support commander.
“My reaffirmation of Secretary Pompeo’s statement in which he said peace talks would include a discussion of international forces and that the United States is ready to work with the Taliban, the Afghan government and the Afghan people towards lasting peace was mischaracterized.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued his statement days after the Afghan government’s unilateral ceasefire with the Taliban.
“As President Ghani emphasized, peace talks by necessity would include a discussion of the role of international actors and forces,” said Pompeo in his statement. “The US is prepared to support, facilitate and participate in these discussions.”
Lt. Col Martin L.
O’Donnell, Resolute Support spokesman, said in a statement the US was exploring all avenues to advance an Afghan-led peace process in close consultation with the Afghan government.
The Kabul Times