No Afghan-US spat on peace process: Khalilzad
A statement from the Presidential Palace said Khalilzad expressed the views during a meeting with President Ashraf Ghani. Members of the Peace Consultative Board, the government’s negotiating team, politicians and representatives of political parties attended the overnight meeting.
Khalilzad thanked the president and participants of the meeting, saying the peace talks would proceed based on a new framework agreed beyween Kabul and Washington.
“Our goal is to bring lasting peace to Afghanistan, and the expansion and strengthening of the two countries' post-peace relations will be discussed with the Afghan government,” Khalilzad said.
The US was not aiming withdrawal, but sustainable peace in Afghanistan to end the 40-year-old crisis in the country, the US envoy maintained.
About the importance of regional states, he said, “We are struggling for bringing peace because our goal is to end the war, but we are not supportive of any type of peace,”
Peace is important for the region, with Kabul showing that Afghanistan’s land and air corridors were advantageous for all regional countries, including Pakistan, he said. Pakistan should take practical steps for cooperation on the peace process he remarked.
Khalilzad said that there were no differences of opinion between the Afghan government and the US on the peace process. Efforts in this regard were in a preliminary stage, he continued. Progress remained limited, but encouraging, he said.
“We have talked on four issues -- Taliban’s relations with Al Qaeda, the presence of US troops, direct talks with the Afghan government and a nationwide ceasefire in several meetings with the Taliban. There would be no advance in negotiations if there is no agreement on these issues,” he warned.
He called a ceasefire and direct talks with the Afghan government were the most important issues. All issues are inter-related and the Afghan government should have a central role in decisions in this regard.
A number of participants also shared their views with Khalilzad, who assuaged concerns regarding the renewed peace push.
President Ghani thanked all participants and said their discussion showed Afghanistan was an open society where all people were engaged in dialogues in the interest of their future.
For the first time, a consultative council would be convened with the participation of women from all 34 provinces of the country in the next few days.