US tells Afghan president Qatar talks best chance for peace

US tells Afghan president Qatar talks best chance for peace
Afghan Security personnel arrive outside the Telecommunication Ministry during a gunfight with insurgents in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, April 20, 2019. A suicide blast rocked Afghanistan's capital Saturday during a gun battle with security forces, officials said, killing several people a day after hopes for all-encompassing peace talks collapsed. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called the Afghan president to express disappointment over the indefinite postponement of talks with the Taliban and to condemn the insurgent’s latest “spring offensive.”

The Afghan-to-Afghan talks in Qatar were scheduled to start last week when they were scuttled after a falling out over who should attend. It would have marked the first time that Taliban and Kabul government officials sat together.

The State Department says Pompeo called President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday and condemned the Taliban’s recent announcement of starting another offensive in the spring. The Taliban have, however, managed to keep up a steady tempo of attacks even during the harsh winter months.

Pompeo also encouraged both sides to agree on participants, saying the talks are Afghanistan’s best chance at peace.