Pompeo in Kabul to jumpstart flagging peace process amid covid-19 restrictions

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has arrived in Kabul on an urgent visit to try to move forward a US peace deal signed last month with the Taliban. The trip comes despite the coronavirus pandemic, at a time when world leaders and statesmen are curtailing official travel.

Since the signing of the deal, the peace process has become stalled amid political turmoil in Afghanistan, with the country’s leaders squabbling over who was elected president.

President Ashraf Ghani and his main rival in last September’s presidential polls, Abdullah Abdullah, have both declared themselves the country’s president in dueling inauguration ceremonies earlier this month.

During his visit Monday, Pompeo is expected to try to help end the impasse, which has put on hold the start of intra-Afghan peace talks that would include the Taliban. Those talks are seen as a critical next step in the peace deal, negotiated to allow the United States to bring home its troops and give Afghans the best chance at peace.