Mortar attack hits Kabul as Pompeo joins the Afghanistan peace talks
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Affected Countries: afghanistan;
Mortar shells slammed into a residential area of Afghanistan’s capital and killed eight people Saturday, hours before outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held what are likely his last meetings with the Taliban and Afghan government negotiators trying to hammer out a peace deal.
The assault came as peace talks were underway in Qatar, where Pompeo told Afghan government negotiators that the U.S. will “sit on the side and help where we can” in the negotiations with Taliban militants. Meanwhile, the U.S. military announced a sudden visit to the Mideast by long-range, nuclear-capable B-52H bombers, underlining America’s continuing presence in the region.
Two Taliban officials told The Associated Press that the warring sides have found common ground on which to move forward the stalled talks. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to journalists, did not elaborate.
In Kabul, at least one of the 23 mortar rounds hit inside the Iranian Embassy compound. No one was wounded, but it damaged the main building, the embassy said. At least 31 people were hurt elsewhere in the city, according to the Interior Ministry.
In Doha, Pompeo met with the co-founder of the Taliban, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who signed the peace agreement with Washington in February ahead of the so-called intra-Afghan talks. Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem tweeted that further prisoner releases were discussed in the meeting, in addition to those that the two sides committed to ahead of peace talks under the U.S. deal.
Source: Military Times