Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, January 18th, 2021

Khalilzad Expresses Hopes for Intra-Afghan Negotiations

Khalilzad Expresses Hopes for Intra-Afghan Negotiations

DOHA - On the sidelines of the opening of Afghan peace talks on Saturday, the US envoy to Afghanistan expressed hope for the process.
The negotiations in Qatar have brought together the Taliban and delegates appointed by the Afghan government for historic meetings aimed at ending decades of war.
“What has happened already is the main part of today. Afghans sitting across the table, talking to each other, talking about peace, talking about their aspirations. Then later today they will meet to agree on forming a committee that will work on the agenda and timeline,” Khalilzad said. 
US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who has helped facilitate the talks, said Washington was hoping for a quick resolution to the talks but also acknowledged the difficulties both sides will face.
“Our satisfaction that we will never be threatened again, that the commitments made by both sides, the government and the Taliban about terrorism, that's simply put the most important condition, and we have a timetable which is that withdrawal should be completed if the conditions are met by the end of April, next year,” he said. 
Parties are expected to discuss tough issues including the terms of a permanent cease-fire, the rights of women and minorities and the disarming of tens of thousands of Taliban fighters and militias loyal to warlords, some of them aligned with the government.
Khalilzhad said the guarantee signed in February in which the Taliban committed to fight terrorist groups, in particular the Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan, and ensure Afghanistan cannot again be used to attack America or its allies, was the US' "most important condition" for the talks.
“Certainly, we’re also encouraging them to move as quickly as possible. This is a historic opportunity for them, and that they shouldn't miss this opportunity. And so, hopefully they will move but we recognize that there's a lot of mistrust. This war has been going on for a long time, and compromise has not been easy historically in Afghanistan. But it does happen, it's not, it's difficult but not impossible,” the US special envoy said. 
He said the hope was for a full withdrawal of US troops from the country by April 2021.
“There is no blank cheque, in a sense that we would like to help, but they should decide for themselves and then we decide for ourselves in relation to the decisions that they have made. And that applies not only in the case of Afghanistan but more broadly as well,” Khalilzad said. (TOLO NEWS)