Khalilzad appreciates Pakistan's role in Afghan peace process

  • Khalilzad appreciates Pakistan's role in Afghan peace process

Khalilzad appreciates Pakistan's role in Afghan peace process

He said the Taliban did not want to be "a pariah state" and had told him that they did not see a military solution to the conflict.

Additionally, the Taliban have promised not to shelter foreign extremists, but experts say they can not be trusted and even now are helping to hide such militants.

United States troops patrol at an Afghan National Army (ANA) Base in Logar province, Afghanistan August 7, 2018.

"Pakistan has tried to facilitate talks between the Taliban and the United States and also favors inter-Afghan dialogue including between the Taliban and the (Afghan) government", he said.

The United States boasts a roughly 14,000-troop force in Afghanistan largely working to train and advise the government's security forces as they battle the Taliban for population control in a war long characterized by top USA military and Afghan officials as a stalemate.

A declaration was signed after the three days talks, stating that all parties in the conference have agreed that a dignified and lasting peace is the aspiration of all the people of Afghanistan and this principle has been achieved in Moscow.

"After many conversations, we have reached an agreement in principle with the Taliban on a framework that would provide guarantees, and enforcement mechanism that no terrorist group, worldwide terrorist group or individuals would be able to use Afghanistan, the areas that they control and should they be part of a future government; against the United States as allies and others", Khalilzad said.

Khalilzad said Islamabad had helped facilitate recent talks between the militants and the United States, although he said Pakistan should "do more". "A peace agreement can allow withdrawal", Khalilzad said. "His rivals, influential politicians and power brokers had taken part in it and agreed on certain things", one army general who served in Ghani's administration told Arab News, requesting anonymity.

"There has been a positive change" in Pakistan's attitude in recent times, he said. Haroon Chakhansuri, spokesperson to the Afghan President, called the Moscow meeting "a political and academic discussion". Some believe the chances the US would reverse direction and return to Afghanistan are unlikely at best.

Zalmay Khalilzad, the USA special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, has been talking to the Taliban for several months.

Afghan political analyst Mushtaq Rahim said there was a backlash in Afghan civil society against those who attended. They got "the biggest advantage" out of this meeting, he said, whereas Ghani appeared to be "totally isolated".

The roots of the conflict in Afghanistan is not only in Afghanistan but also in the broader region.

Russia's biggest fear, many analysts agree, is the presence of Islamic State in Afghanistan.

A day before the Moscow meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused the USA of holding talks in secrecy and leaving the regional countries "in the dark". He said he wants those intra-Afghan negotiations to start immediately. Some of them also warned that the current Afghan government would not have enough support to stay in power without a U.S. military presence.

Olson was also skeptical of the Russian intentions, calling them "potential spoilers".

He added that "elections make the peace agreement more complicated". It was organized by theCouncil of Afghan Society, a Moscow-based organization of the Afghan diaspora.

He also thought the Taliban were hoping to undermine the administration so much that in the end they would negotiate on their terms.

On the heels of negotiations with the U.S.in Doha, Qatar, from January 21 through January 26, Taliban leaders met with a Russian delegation for two days in Moscow earlier this week.

"Great nations do not fight endless wars", Trump said, just a month after announcing, to the surprise of the Afghan government, that he is ordering the withdrawal of 7,000 troops from the country.