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 organization.

Palladino said the peace talks in Doha are making progress but more work needed to be done to reach an agreement.

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