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Afghanistan’s Ghani speaks with Pompeo amid US talks with Taliban

Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani spoke with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo late Tuesday in an apparent bid to reassert his authority as Washington accelerates its negotiations with the Taliban. This week, the Taliban also sent a delegation of 10 to talks underway in Moscow with dozens of prominent Afghan opposition figures, including former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, without Kabul’s involvement. Ghani’s call to Pompeo seemed an attempt to re-assert his government’s role in negotiations he has sharply criticized at times as one-sided, AP reported. Robert Palladino, deputy spokesman at the State Department, said Pompeo emphasized the importance of an intra-Afghan dialogue and the role of a ceasefire in ending the violence and making it possible for the Afghan government, other Afghan leaders and the Taliban to negotiate a political settlement.