Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday hailed the possibility of a brief cease-fire in Afghanistan, saying it is “time for peace” in the country where U.S. troops continue to fight in the longest-running war in American history.
“The United States welcomes the announcement by the Afghan government of a cease-fire conditioned on Taliban participation,” Pompeo said in a statement. “The United States supports President Ghani’s offer for comprehensive negotiations on a mutually agreed agenda.”
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced on Sunday plans for a three-month cease-fire in honor of the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday. According to a Reuters report, the Taliban provisionally accepted an agreement for a four-day truce and pledged to release hundreds of prisoners in a show of goodwill.
Pompeo stressed that there are no “obstacles to talks” and that the U.S. stands ready to broker discussions between Ghani’s government and the Taliban, the militant organization the U.S. sought to oust from power for providing shelter to al Qaeda before the September 11, 2001, attacks.
Last year, President Donald Trump said that, instead of going with his “original instinct” to withdraw U.S. forces, he would keep troops in Afghanistan, where they have been for nearly 17 years.
But NBC News reported on Friday that Trump is showing increasing interest in a plan to privatize the war, which has been promoted by Erik Prince, who founded the private military company formerly known as Blackwater.