The Kabul Times.
Politics

ANDSF sacrifices to be considered in peace talks, US embassy

Following direct peace talks between US officials and representatives of the Taliban group in Qatar, a number of experts said the peace talks between US officials and negotiators of the Taliban group were vague. Nevertheless, officials for US embassy to Kabul say US goal is a settlement to the conflict that is worthy of the sacrifices made by Afghans and Americans and that protects many of the gains of the last 17 years.
US ambassador to Kabul John Bass has said that the United States has profound respect for Afghan people’s ability to make their own choices and it does not seek to create and impose a settlement on Afghanistan.
Speaking to journalists in a news briefing, US ambassador said that the US was not discussing with the Taliban issues that only Afghans could discuss.
Referring to the latest of round of US-Taliban talks in Doha, Bass said that concerns were created following the talks largely due to misinformation and the Taliban propaganda.
He said that the US is talking to the Taliban about two interconnected issues that directly affect US forces and US policy concerns about the prospect of Afghanistan continuing to be a safe haven for international terrorist organizations.
“We’re not talking to the Taliban about interim governments, we’re not talking to the Taliban about issues related to the current Afghan constitution and the current structure of government,” Bass said.
He said that the US is focused on ensuring that wider Afghan society including representatives of the government can take advantage of the opportunity for talks in the middle of April in Doha.
Referring to concerns about prospect of a different security posture and reduction in foreign troops in the country, the diplomat said that the US is trying to reassure Afghans about some of their anxieties.
“For this country to be successful in the future and for the conflict to come to a close, those anxieties and uncertainties, and the questions that create them, the answers to those questions need to come from within society because a durable settlement to this conflict will only come from within Afghanistan with help and support from the United States and our allies and neighboring countries,” Bass said.
“We can’t substitute for those discussions and debate about key issues that have to come from within society,” he added.
The diplomat said that the US goal is a settlement to the conflict that is worthy of the sacrifices made by Afghans and Americans and that protects many of the gains of the last 17 years.

US ambassador to Kabul believes if Taliban continues to fight, they will further sustain casualties in battlefields, but it is better they keep on efforts for succeeding the peace process.

In the meantime, Afghan political and military experts say if US wants a settlement that is worthy of sacrifices made by the people of Afghanistan, it should not provide opportunity for supporters of terrorist groups in the region.
“If US wants a successful Afghanistan peace process, it should exert pressures on the Taliban group to hold direct talks with Afghanistan government as the real side of talks is the government of Afghanistan,” a former military officer Naveed Elham said.
Another Afghan military expert Javed Kohistan questioned direct peace talks between the US officials and representatives of the Taliban group, saying if it is a transparent process, why details of the talks are not shared with the people of Afghanistan.
He added that US should share all issues discussed in peace talks with the people and government of Afghanistan.

On the other hand, US special peace envoy for Afghanistan has begun a fresh tour that will take him to Kabul and Islamabad, besides other capitals in region, for a new round of talks with the Taliban group.
Suraya Raiszada

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The Kabul Times.