US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has refused to sign the peace deal that his special representative has inked with the Taliban, mainly because it does not guarantee the continued presence of US forces in the country to defeat al-Qaeda or the existence of the democratically elected government, a media report said Wednesday.
Pompeo is "declining to put his name to the deal" that has been hammered out by Special US Representative on Afghan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad after nine round of talks with the representatives of the Taliban in Doha, the Time magazine reported on Wednesday.
"It doesn’t guarantee the continued presence of US counter terrorism forces to battle al-Qaeda, the survival of the pro-US government in Kabul, or even an end to the fighting in Afghanistan," reported Time magazine, which based its report on unnamed senior Afghan, European Union and Trump Administration officials.
"No one speaks with certainty. None,” said an Afghan official taking part in briefings on the deal with Khalilzad. “It is all based on hope. There is no trust. There is no history of trust. There is no evidence of honesty and sincerity from the Taliban,” and intercepted communications “show that they think they have fooled the US while the US believes that should the Taliban cheat, they will pay a hefty price.”
According to Time magazine, the Taliban has asked for 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 such a document would amount to de facto recognition of the Taliban as a legitimate political entity, and he declined to do so,” the report said, quoting the Afghan officials.
Pompeo’s office declined to comment. If the deal is signed, the US has agreed to withdraw some 5,400 US troops, roughly a third of the present force, from five bases within 135 days.