WASHINGTON (92 News) – US President Donald Trump telephoned Taliban chief negotiator Mullah Abdu Ghani Baradar and discussed the Afghan peace deal among other important matters.
It is pertinent to mention here that this is the first known conversation between a US leader and a top Taliban official, as a dispute over a prisoner release threatened a US-led effort to bring peace to Afghanistan.
The telephonic call, announced on Twitter by a Taliban spokesman and then confirmed by Trump, came three days after Baradar and US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad signed an agreement in Qatar for a withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.
In a statement on the 35-minute Trump-Baradar conversation, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid suggested Baradar gave no ground on the issue.
In a tweet, a Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said US President Donald Trump has assured Mullah Baradar that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will talk to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani so that the barriers against the inter-Afghan talks get removed.
“Baradar said to Trump, ‘It is the inherent right of the Afghans that all the points of this agreement are implemented as soon as possible so that peace may come to Afghanistan,’” the Taliban spokesperson said.
Very good relationship with Mullah
Talking to journalists, US President Donald Trump said he has a good conversation with Taliban leader Mullah Baradar to get this dispute ended.
Trump gave few details of the discussion but said he had a good relationship with Baradar.
“We had a very good conversation with the leader of the Taliban today. They’re looking to get this ended, and we’re looking to get it ended... the relationship is very good that I have with the Mullah. We had a good, long conversation today.”
Earlier, the US and Taliban
signed a historic deal to allow a US troop reduction and a permanent ceasefire on Saturday.
Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar signed the pact.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by Qatari Emir, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his counterparts from seven countries and representatives from fifty countries.
Speaking on the occasion, Taliban delegation leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar expressed full commitment to the agreement from his side. “As a political force we want to maintain positive relations with all neighbours, regional countries and international community who played a key role in this agreement.”
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar said: “We want unity and prosperity of our country and for this reason, I call upon all factions to make this deal working.”
He said that he especially thanked Pakistan for its assistance and support in making the deal a success. “We appreciate the role of China, Russia, Iran, Uzbekistan, Norway, Indonesia and other countries in supporting the peace process.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in his address, said that the agreement is a true test of the effort to give peace a chance. “It will ensure that Afghanistan never becomes a base of terrorists again. Reduction in violence is not perfect, but at least Taliban demonstrated that when they have the will to be peaceful, they can be.”
Appreciating the US Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad, he said that he played a critical role in making the negotiations successful. He urged Taliban to sit with the Afghan government to determine the course for future of Afghanistan.
Earlier, Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani said that the signing of this agreement became possible after phased negotiations and this will lead to the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.
He said that Qatar, its leadership and people are pleased to witness the signing of peace agreement that will lead to fruitful and successful relations between the two sides.