WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. State Department spokesman on Tuesday declined to elaborate on a comment by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday in which he called the Afghan Taliban terrorists.
“The secretary’s words speak for themselves and I am not going to go beyond that,” spokesman Robert Palladino told a briefing. He said U.S. and Taliban representatives currently are meeting in Doha.
Speaking to a group of students in Des Moines, Iowa, on Monday, Pompeo said: “I have a team on the ground right now trying to negotiate with the Taliban terrorists in Afghanistan.”
The United States has not declared the Taliban a terrorist organisation.
Palladino said the peace talks in Doha are making progress but more work needed to be done to reach an agreement.
(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Writing by Eric Beech; Editing by Lisa Lambert and Paul Simao)