The Kabul Times.
Politics

Khalilzad in Kabul to accelerate efforts for peace process

US special peace envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad arrived in Kabul the other day. During his visit to Kabul, Khalilzad will meet with leaders of the national unity government and other political figures to accelerate efforts for starting the intra-Afghan dialogue.
The US Embassy in Kabul said in a statement the other day that Khalilzad is in Kabul for consultations with leaders of the National Unity Government, political leaders, civil society, and women. The statement said that Khalilzad will discuss progress in US efforts to facilitate an inclusive peace process.
His arrival in Kabul follows stops in Islamabad, Berlin, and Brussels, the statement said. On his first day of stay in Kabul, Khalilzad met with President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.
The Presidential Palace said in a statement that Khalilzad briefed President Ghani on his trips to Europe and his future plans in the peace process.
The statement said that the discussions were mostly focused on intra-Afghan dialogue and that the two sides welcomed Germany’s role in this regard.
“The two sides hoped that the intra-Afghan talks will begin as soon as possible,” the statement said.
Meanwhie, Khalilzad said that they discussed building further international consensus for peace and “also regional requirements and implications for peace including recent positive movement in Afghanistan-Pakistan relations and opportunities peace will provide for regional connectivity and development”.
“As Afghan peace process talks continue to progress, we agreed preparation for intra-Afghan negotiations now is essential,” Khalilzad said in a tweet about his meeting with President Ghani.
Various efforts are underway for peace in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, US special peace envoy for Afghanistan will soon hold the seventh round of peace talks with Taliban negotiators in Doha to discuss US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, stress the group to participate in intra-Afghan dialogue.
Lasting peace can be maintained in Afghanistan when the peace process is led and owned by Afghans as final peace agreement is in the hand of the people of Afghanistan and nobody or organization can represent Afghanistan to sign the peace agreement.
In the meantime, it is not clear what will happen in the seventh round of peace talks between US delegation and Taliban negotiators as goals of the Taliban group are not clear. The group is still strict with people in areas under their control, which really make the coming talks complicated. Taliban are following their combat goals under the umbrella of peace and their logic is to extend peace talks and, on the other hand, increase their military pressures in battlefields to get further concessions on negotiating table.
The people of Afghanistan have problem with the Taliban group and this problem can be addressed when the group renounces and stops violence, joins peace process and change to a political party. The international community in particular US considered as close partners of the people of Afghanistan should withdraw their troops from Afghanistan when problems between the Taliban and the Afghan people are solved.
It is worth mentioning that the sixth round of peace talks between US delegation and representatives of the Taliban group has already ended and since that no change is seen in Taliban’s position in connection with holding direct talks with Afghanistan government. Instead, fighting between the Taliban group and Afghanistan government has increased in many parts of the country. The seventh round of peace talks between US delegation led by Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban negotiators will soon begin in Doha.

Lailuma Noori

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The Kabul Times.