HE the Secretary of State of the United States of America Mike Pompeo has praised the efforts made by Qatar to bring peace to Afghanistan, and to bring the views of all sides together.
Addressing a press conference held on Saturday after the ceremony for the conclusion of the agreement for bringing peace in Afghanistan, signed between the United States and the Taliban movement in Doha, Pompeo said, "So the nation of Qatar has been an enormously important partner to get us to this very moment."
Pompeo added, "When we have hit bumps in the road, they have helped smooth them out. They have agreed to host a significant piece of the conversations that have taken place that have built out on the set of agreements that you see today. We appreciate that and we thank them."
The US Secretary of State expressed his confidence that Qatar will continue to provide assistance and support to the efforts of the US to bring peace, adding, "They have been great partners in getting to this point, and we're counting on them to continue their efforts to deliver for the Afghan people this enormous opportunity that this moment brings."
Pompeo said: "Today is an historic day for the United States of America and the American people. Today, we have taken a decisive step toward peace, real peace in Afghanistan. Just as any worthy journey begins, it is a first step".
He added: "Nearly 19 years ago, America embarked on a noble mission to mightily pursue the terrorist perpetrators of the September 11th attacks and their evil supporters and to prevent such a heinous attack from ever happening again. We have achieved great things. We have ensured Afghanistan isn't a haven for terrorists who can attack us."
Pompeo said, "Today, political debate in Afghanistan is free and vigorous. Today, more than 9mn students are enrolled in school; 39% of them are girls. Today, more than 57% of Afghans have access to basic healthcare, compared to just 9% in 2002. And Al Qaida today is a shadow of its former self. We have decimated its leadership and now have the Taliban agreeing that Al Qaida must never again find safe haven in Afghanistan."
The US Secretary of State stated:"The United States faces national security challenges that weren't even imagined a few years ago," stressing, "A comprehensive, inclusive, durable peace could only be secured by the Afghan people themselves." He explained, "Today, we are realistic. We are seizing the best opportunity for peace," adding, "We recognise America shouldn't fight in perpetuity."
Pompeo called on Afghan leaders to seize this opportunity to achieve peace.
The US Secretary of State added, "We now have commitments from the Taliban to break with Al Qaeda. This is historic. They need to live up to those commitments. They've made commitments to continue to reduce the violence level," adding: "When they do that, they will find that there is opportunity in this place, that the international community is demanding that Afghanistan be a peaceful place."
He called on the Afghan people to maintain peace, avoid violence and chaos, and promote dialogue and understanding between all ethnicities and sects, stressing, "Factions will undoubtedly emerge that want to spoil our good work. We must call them out and reject their schemes for discord."
On guarantees of all parties' compliance with the terms of the agreement, Secretary Pompeo explained, "So we've spent many months getting to where we are today, and there are a set of interlocking understandings, implementation agreements, that are clearly spelled out."
He affirmed the US commitment to withdrawal mechanisms, along with promises of security obligations, and expected that the Taliban would fulfill their pledges as well, stressing that the United States will not hesitate to defend the interests of the Afghan people in the event of the failure of the Taliban movement to honour its commitments.
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