Risks and fears: Pompeo refuses to sign deal with Taliban

WASHINGTON: The United States is approaching an agreement with the Taliban that is designed to end the US 18-year war in Afghanistan, but the best indication of how risky the pact can be is this: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo He refuses to sign an agreement with senior US, Afghan and European officials.

Read also: United States and the Taliban on the threshold of the peace agreement

That may explain why Pompeo refused to put his name in the agreement. The Taliban asked Pompeo to sign an agreement with the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the official name of the government founded by the Taliban in Afghanistan in 1996, Having the Secretary of State sign that document would amount to a de facto recognition of the Taliban as a legitimate political entity, and refused to do so, Afghan officials say.

Pompeo’s office declined to comment before the publication of this story. After its publication, Pompeo said through a spokesman that he could sign if Trump and all parties reached an agreement. “There is no agreement to sign yet. If there is an agreement approved by all parties, including President Trump, and if the secretary is the appropriate signatory, he will sign it, ”State Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus sent an email to TIME on Wednesday night.

There are two alternatives Khalilzad himself can sign it. Or the US UU. And the Taliban can simply issue a joint statement, backed in turn by the US-backed government. UU. In Kabul and several other countries, including Japan, Russia and China, two Afghan sources familiar with the deliberations count to TIME.

That diplomatic sleight of hand could solve the problem of the firm. As it stands, the agreement would set the stage for the withdrawal of most US forces at the end of November 2020 if the Taliban do three things: open negotiations with the Afghan government backed by the United States; reduce violence near the areas controlled by US forces; and keep foreign militants out of the areas they control, according to current and former officials from the United States, Afghanistan and Europe, who spoke anonymously to describe delicate and fragile deliberations.

The US military and intelligence officers and diplomats. UU. That they have served in Afghanistan they fear that once a withdrawal is made, it will be irreversible, given Trump’s promise to end the US participation. UU. In the war there, the rapidly approaching US elections of 2020 and the absence of public Support for the war.

The price of peace, they fear, could include reversing much of the progress hardly made towards building a stable country during almost two decades of war. These officials fear a setback in civil, human and women’s rights in Afghanistan; weakening of national, regional and local governments.

“It is not clear if peace is possible,” warned nine former senior US officials, including a former sub

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