As peace talks with the Taliban stall, deadline to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan looms
US Special Representative for the Afghan Truce Zalmay Khalilzad arrives in Kabul, where he is scheduled to meet with representatives of the Afghan government
The United States intends to resume formal negotiations with the movement "Taliban", almost three months after President Donald Trump unexpectedly suspended peace talks in Afghanistan that continued for a year.
U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad arrived in Kabul on Wednesday to meet with government officials and other Afghan leaders, before heading to Qatar, where representatives are "Taliban", participating in the negotiations. This is stated in the message of the US State Department, but the date of Khalilzad’s arrival in Doha, the capital of Qatar, has not been specified..
“In Doha, Ambassador Khalilzad will rejoin talks with "The Taliban" to discuss steps that can facilitate intra-Afghan negotiations and a peaceful end to the war; in particular, to a decrease in the level of violence, which will lead to a truce, ”the State Department said in a statement. According to sources in "Taliban", meeting with Khalilzad will take place next week.
The State Department said in a statement that during his stay in the Afghan capital, Khalilzad will discuss with the country‘s leadership the topics raised during Donald Trump’s recent visit to Afghanistan. The Special Representative will discuss “how best to support … efforts” to involve all parties in the intra-Afghan peace talks.
The Afghan-American diplomat and his team led nine rounds of talks with the Taliban in Qatar before Donald Trump canceled the talks on September 7. This came after a Taliban attack in Kabul that killed several people, including a US soldier..
At that moment, the United States and the Taliban, two adversaries in the Afghan war, which had been going on for 18 years, seemed to be close to reaching an agreement, as a result of which the withdrawal of American troops and their allies from Afghanistan could begin..
“"Taliban" wants to make a deal, and we meet with them, and talk about … the need for a truce; they [the Taliban] didn’t want a truce, and now they want a truce, ”Trump said last Thursday during a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at Bagram Air Base.
but "Taliban" insists that, under the terms of the deal discussed with the United States, the terrorist group has promised to abide by a ceasefire with the foreign military to facilitate their withdrawal from the country to begin peace talks with all parties to the Afghan conflict. Militants add that the issue of a truce with Afghan security forces will be discussed during intra-Afghan negotiations. These negotiations will be conducted with the participation of the entire Afghan society, with government representatives being considered “in a private capacity” and not as representatives of official Kabul..
The current president’s advisers insist that any negotiations with "The Taliban" must be led by the Afghan government. The Taliban, who control almost half of the country’s entire territory, refuse to negotiate with the official Kabul, calling the current government “illegal” fruit of the “American occupation” of Afghanistan.