Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, January 19th, 2021

Intra-Afghan Talks Never Been Closer: Khalilzad

Intra-Afghan Talks  Never Been Closer: Khalilzad

KABUL - The US special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation has blamed Iran for not properly supporting the Afghan peace process.
Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad hit out at Iran while speaking at a virtual even organised by the US Institute of Peace on Friday.
The ambassadors of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to the United States also attended the online meeting.
Khalilzad said under its agreement with the Taliban, the US remained committed to withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. He explained any troop pullout would be conditions-based.
“Fighting terrorism, withdrawal of US troops, the start of intra-Afghan talks and a congregational ceasefire are the main elements of the US-Taliban agreement,” he added.
Release of some prisoners by the Afghan government and reduction in violence were still the two impediments to the peace process, he continued.
Iran was not really supporting Afghan peace process because of the controversial ties between Washington and Tehran, the ambassador said.
Khalilzad rejected recent remarks of Iran’s deputy foreign minister regarding the peace drive. The Iranian official visited Kabul last week.
Competition and differences among Central Asian countries had created challenges to a regional consensus on the Afghan peace effort, the special envoy added.
He acknowledged that violence in the war-torn country had lately been “too high,” but fatalities among the security forces had declined by 40 percent.
Khalilzad said no American or coalition solider had been killed by the Taliban since the signing of the February 29 pace agreement.
"I am hoping that as we move closer to intra-Afghan negotiations, which I hope will happen in the coming weeks, that violence will be less than it is now,” he remarked. (Pajhwok)