U.S. envoy in Taleban talks seeks peace deal before July vote

Remigio Civitarese
Febbraio 11, 2019

Details of what mechanisms will be implemented to ensure that the Taliban complies with its side of the bargain still need to be fleshed out, Khalilzad said.

"Special Operations Forces of Afghan National Army (ANA) waged an operation and freed five countrymen from a Taliban prison in Chahar Dara district, Kunduz province Thursday night", Hanif Rezai, spokesman of army Corps 209 Shaheen based in the region, told Xinhua.

"Individuals such as Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai and his fellows who visited Russian Federation are sanctioned by the UN".

The agreement calls for the Taliban to prevent global terrorist groups from basing themselves in Afghanistan and for the United States to withdraw its forces from the country.

The envoy, who is a former USA ambassador to Kabul, also called for direct talks to begin as soon as possible between the Taliban and the Afghan government, which thus far has not been involved in Khalilzad's talks.

A declaration was signed after the three days talks, stating that all parties in the conference have agreed that a dignified and lasting peace is the aspiration of all the people of Afghanistan and this principle has been achieved in Moscow.

The chief US negotiator for peace in Afghanistan said Friday that after several months of talks, he has reached agreement with the Taliban on some key issues, but stressed that a substantive peace deal is far from finished and hinges on dialogue between the militant group and that country's government.

"I am not seeking to monopolise the diplomacy of peace", he said, and also offered rare praise to Pakistan, which he credited for helping push the Taliban to the negotiating table. But there is "a positive change" in Pakistan's attitude in recent times, he said when asked about the role of Islamabad in his ongoing efforts to bring peace in this war-ravaged country.

So, the time has come, they say for an inclusive dialogue leading to an inclusive piece, he said.

President Ghani's anger about the meeting was obvious from various statements, in which he called it an academic exercise by those with "no executive authority".

Fazil Fazli, the adviser-in-chief to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, told The Media Line that the Afghan politicians are damaging the values of the country. Karzai also dismissed United States claims about providing security for Afghanistan.

Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, has been talking to the Taliban for several months.

However, despite Khalilzad's pressure, the Taliban have so far refused to include the Afghan government in the negotiations, or even meet their representatives directly. "It's for the Afghans to accept each other", Khalilzad said. They got "the biggest advantage" out of this meeting, he said, whereas Ghani appeared to be "totally isolated".

Russia's biggest fear, many analysts agree, is the presence of Islamic State in Afghanistan. "They can already play a positive role", he added. The U.S. military turned its attention largely to Iraq in 2003, and eventually the Taliban were able to regenerate enough combat power to contest key battlefields, mainly in the south.

"Even if we achieve success on these two issues, we make further progress, a peace agreement would not be, immediately or shortly are achieved in the foreseeable future without a comprehensive agreement on other issues", he added. It was organized by theCouncil of Afghan Society, a Moscow-based organization of the Afghan diaspora. He also clarified that the Taliban's negotiators agreed to the condition, but not its leadership.

Islamabad, running short of foreign exchange reserves and in talks with the International Monetary Fund over what would be its 13th bailout since the 1980s, says it can not afford to see Afghanistan slide into chaos just as Pakistan is trying to attract foreign investors to shore up its own economy.

On the heels of negotiations with the U.S.in Doha, Qatar, from January 21 through January 26, Taliban leaders met with a Russian delegation for two days in Moscow earlier this week.

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