World

U.S. envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad on India visit

U.S. envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad on India visit

The Taliban have rejected repeated requests from regional powers to allow Afghan officials to take part in the talks, insisting that the United States is their main adversary in the 17-year war. "Informal, indirect yes", adding that due to changes within the thinking of the Taliban, mostly due to global exposure and the impact of social media, he was hopeful that the prospects for peace were stronger than ever before.

But Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on a visit to India that Iran has had intelligence contacts with the Taliban because it needed to secure border areas controlled by the Taliban on the Afghan side.

"If they violate the constitution again under the pretext of peace, once more there will be bullying and victimization", said Sima Samar, chairperson of Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC).

A Taliban leader had told Reuters that the talks, which would have been the fourth round with Khalilzad, would have involved a usa withdrawal, prisoner exchange and the lifting of a ban on movement of Taliban leaders.

The statement said that Mr Khalilzad will continue to coordinate his efforts with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and other Afghan stakeholders to ensure an intra-Afghan peace process. "Social media has [had a] great impact on Taliban thinking". "Within 2019, InshAllah (god willing), we will reach to a final peace deal".

Daudzai welcomed the "multiplicity" of the peace effort but said all parties needed better coordination to create consensus at the national, regional and worldwide levels. It has maintained that any peace process and negotiation on Afghanistan has to be an Afghan-led process.

"All initiatives should be done in consultation, in conjunction, with the legitimate state of Afghanistan".




"If we talk about an interim government, then it would be an interim government in which Dr Simar Samar served as deputy and I was served as foreign minister". "Somebody can sit in the front row and somebody can sit in the back row but they all are on the same bus with one driver".

The insurgents, seeking to reimpose strict Islamic law after their 2001 ouster by US-led troops, called off their meeting with the United States officials in Saudi Arabia this week because of Riyadh's insistence on bringing the Western-backed Afghan government to the table. "We haven't seen any change in the Taliban so far and that country that supports them, has not unfortunately changed its policies toward us either", said Abdullah, referring to Pakistan which Kabul accuses of harbouring Taliban leaders.

There are now about 14,000 United States soldiers in the country.

"The Taliban said Khalilzad would visit the United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and China to continue the discussion", Reuters noted, adding, "Khalilzad's office [a component of the U.S. Department of State] was not available for comment".

Sources said Khalilzad is likely to arrive in Pakistan early next week.

Two days of peace talks had been set to start on Wednesday, Taliban officials told Reuters earlier, but the hardline Islamic militant group had refused to allow "puppet" Afghan officials to join. He rejected the reports that the Taliban called off the meeting, clarifying that the USA side postponed the meeting and the message was conveyed to the Taliban political envoys on Wednesday. At the same time, Tehran has warned Islamabad that a Taliban-dominated Afghanistan represents an "existential threat" to Pakistan.


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