US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani have agreed that it was time to accelerate efforts to reach a negotiated end to the conflict in the war-ravaged Afghanistan, the State Department said on Thursday.
During a phone call on Wednesday, Pompeo assured Ghani that there has been no change to President Donald Trump's South Asia strategy, including US commitment to a conditions-based drawdown, said the State Department.
Ghani had asked for clarifications following Trump's remarks that the US could easily win the war in Afghanistan but didn't "want to kill 10 million people".
The conflict in Afghanistan, known as America's longest war, has spanned over 17 years, cost more than 2,400 American lives, billions of US dollars and has stretched into its third US administration. President Trump campaigned on ending US involvement in Afghanistan and other international conflicts.
Pompeo informed Ghani that he had dispatched Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford and Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad to Kabul to discuss in detail the next steps on the road to peace.
Ghani welcomed the Secretary's engagement and confirmed Afghanistan's commitment to working side-by-side with the United States to achieve a stable, peaceful, democratic Afghanistan that is not a center for terrorism.
Khalilzad is currently holding talks with the Taliban to work out an agreement for withdrawal of the US troops and participation of the rebel group in the Afghan government.
The US, China, Russia and Pakistan had jointly urged the Taliban to immediately agree to a ceasefire and begin direct negotiations with the Afghanistan government to end the violence in the war-torn country. They said the negotiations should be "Afghan-led and Afghan-owned" and produce a peace framework as soon as possible.