By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: The US State Department’s spokesman Ned Price said on Tuesday night that the Istanbul Conference was never meant to replace the Doha talks but rather it was part of a broader diplomatic effort to secure a political settlement.
Addressing a press conference, Price said the Doha talks “is an effort that continues to be ongoing and it’s an effort where we will continue to invest our resources, our political heft, knowing again that only through diplomacy, only through a political settlement, an Afghan-owned, Afghan-led process, will we be able to help support bringing peace, stability, and security to the people of Afghanistan.”
Soon after Price’s press conference, word spread that the Istanbul Conference had been postponed. This was confirmed on Wednesday morning by the three co-hosts, United Nations, Turkey and Qatar, in a statement.
“In view of recent developments, and after extensive consultations with the parties, it has been agreed to postpone the conference to a later date when conditions for making meaningful progress would be more favorable,” the statement read.
Price meanwhile again pointed out that the Biden administration is in no doubt that there is no military solution to the situation in Afghanistan.
He said: “The conference in Istanbul is part of that broader effort, that broader diplomatic engagement. We are grateful to the hosts – Turkey, Qatar, and the UN – for convening it. I would need to refer to them when it comes to the current status of that timing of it or timing of it going forward.”
The postponement comes after the Taliban’s announcement last week that they would not attend any peace conference until all foreign troops had withdrawn from the country.
Their announcement followed closely on the heels of US President Joe Biden and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s announcement that all foreign troops would be out of Afghanistan by September 11.
The Taliban said however this was in contravention of the US-Taliban agreement signed in Doha last year which stipulated foreign troops need to leave by May 1.