WASHINGTON DC: The US diplomat main talks with the Taliban stated Friday he hoped to see a peace deal in place earlier than Afghanistan’s July presidential elections, although he cautioned he didn’t belief America’s long-time adversary.
Zalmay Khalilzad, a former ambassador to Afghanistan who has spoken extensively with the Taliban in current weeks, additionally pressured that any US troop withdrawal could be depending on circumstances on the bottom, and never on any specific timetable.
The talks come as President Donald Trump pushes to finish the Afghanistan battle, the place about 14,000 US troops are nonetheless deployed and which has seen numerous hundreds of civilian and navy deaths.
“The timing of a peace settlement from our perspective is the earlier is best,” Khalilzad advised an viewers on the US Institute of Peace in Washington.
— U.S. Institute of Peace (@USIP) February eight, 2019
“There’s an election, I do know, that makes reaching a peace settlement notably difficult. However it is going to be higher for Afghanistan if we may get a peace settlement earlier than the election.”
Elections in Afghanistan had initially been slated for April 20 however have been postponed for 3 months as peace talks progressed. President Ashraf Ghani, who was elected in a fraud-tainted ballot in 2014, is looking for a second time period.
Khalilzad final week introduced a “draft framework” for a peace deal, although he warned that main hurdles stay.
Critics are skeptical for various causes, primarily as a result of talks haven’t but included the Afghan authorities, which the Taliban considers US-backed puppets.
Intra-Afghan negotiations are a “key goal” for the US, Khalilzad stated, noting the Taliban and the Afghan authorities “should sit throughout the desk and are available to an settlement.”
Moreover, the Taliban have promised to not shelter overseas extremists, however consultants say they can’t be trusted and even now are serving to to cover such militants.
Khalilzad repeatedly pressured the US wouldn’t go away Afghanistan with out enforcement mechanisms in place to make sure Afghanistan doesn’t change into a militant secure haven.
“Our imaginative and prescient long run is for an Afghanistan that’s completely sovereign, unbiased. In the event that they resolve that they don’t need to have overseas troops, we don’t need to keep the place we’re not wished — supplied that there isn’t a menace to our nationwide safety from Afghanistan,” Khalilzad stated.
“That could be a purple line, and I believe that’s a coverage of the (US) president as effectively.”
Khalilzad has in current months held a number of conferences with Taliban officers in Qatar, the place the group’s senior leaders have an workplace within the capital Doha.
The Taliban advised him they notice Afghanistan is totally different from once they have been ousted in 2001 — when the hardline militants subjugated ladies, barred ladies from faculty and worn out any variety of freedoms.
“They perceive that they can not return” to how issues have been, the US negotiator stated.
“We don’t belief the phrases of any of the protagonists,” Khalilzad added, noting that US-backed values corresponding to press freedom and ladies’s rights “have to be revered.”
“Nothing is agreed to till all the things has been agreed to,” he stated.
Taliban leaders this week spent two days in talks in Moscow for a unprecedented summit that noticed Afghan political figures from exterior the federal government assembly with former sworn enemies.
All events agreed to help the Doha peace talks with US negotiators that Trump on Tuesday described as ‘constructive.’
A press release issued on behalf of all events additionally agreed on the whole withdrawal of overseas troops from Afghanistan.
However such a transfer is as much as the Individuals.
Khalilzad on Thursday took to Twitter to disclaim a Taliban declare withdrawal timetable was in place.
Whereas the US shouldn’t be looking for everlasting navy bases in Afghanistan, “our presence is conditions-based, our withdrawal is conditions-based,” he advised the Washington viewers, talking with a scratchy voice after “42 hours of speaking with the Taliban.”
He added that he welcomed Moscow’s function in talks.
“I’m not looking for to monopolise the diplomacy of peace,” he stated, and in addition supplied reward to Pakistan, which he credited for serving to push the Taliban to the negotiating desk.
Afghanistan has suffered almost fixed battle because the Soviet invasion of 1979, which was adopted by civil conflict, the Taliban regime, and the US invasion in late 2001.
Khalilzad was a serious participant in George W Bush’s administration when america first invaded Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001 assaults.