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PublishDate: Saturday, July 25, 2020 10:55

Khalilzad: Defining Moment For Afghanistan And The Region

Addressing a virtual talk on “Afghanistan’s Peaceful fitire: Support from Central Asia” organized by U.S. Institute of Peace on Friday, Khalilzad was joined by Ambassador of Afghanistan to the U.S. Roya Rahmani, Ambassador of Uzbekistan to the U.S. Javlon Vakhabov, Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the U.S. Erzhan Kazykhanov.
Khalilzad said Afghanistan had never been so close to starting the intra-Afghan talks, adding, “This is an important moment for Afghanistan and for the region, perhaps a defining moment.”

He said that the war had left a huge burden on the U.S. and the rest of the world too.
“We are committed to doing our part in achieving both objectives: the objective of peace and the objective of regional development and cooperation,” he said.
Talking about the cooperation with Central Asia, Khalilzad said the regional allies play an important role as he mentioned the C5 grouping of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan..
“We favour an ever-stronger relationship between C5 and Afghanistan… we think that’s an important format, and increased cooperation and integration of Afghanistan…we believe is an important objective.”
“The Afghan people need their Central Asian neighbours to support the Afghan peace process with their consensus and their commitment to a stable, peaceful and free Afghanistan,” said the Afghan envoy Roya Rahmani.
Kazakh ambassador Erzhan Kazykhanov also expressed his belief that Central Asian countries can play a “pivotal role” in providing a basis for the intra-Afghan talks.
“A strong and peaceful Afghanistan as a good neighbour of Central Asia will have a strong, positive impact on our region… It is our principle position that Afghanistan should be viewed not as a threat, but as an important and high potential partner.”
Javlon Vakhabov, the Uzbek ambassador concurred with Kazykhanov’s remarks.
“The prospects of sustainable development in Central Asia are inextricably linked with the achievement of peace in neighbouring Afghanistan.”
He added that they are firm-believers that the talks should reflect the best interests of the Afghan people.
“In order to achieve sustainable and long term peace in Afghanistan, we deem it necessary to hold on to key principles… [like] abstention from violence, comprehensive ceasefire, readiness to dialogue and compromises,” he added.
Afghanistan’s Ambassador Rahmani also called on the regional countries and the international community to help Afghanistan.
“In order to get up to speed, our countries need to harmonize regulation and remove barriers for trade and investment, so that investors can look at the region collectively,” she advised.
Rahmani also said that in order to make sure that the peace talks are sustainable and durable, “Women should not be an issue on the table, but they should be a party at the table.”


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