Khalilzad calls for collective efforts to make peace a success

KABUL (TOLO News): The United States Special Representative for Afghanistan’s Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, tweeted updates about progress in the peace process, noting the reduction in violence agreement between the US and Taliban, but stressed that “success cannot be guaranteed.”

Khalilzad reported on Twitter that he had met with President Ashraf Ghani in Munich on Friday and held a series of meetings with leaders and representatives from different countries.

Khalilzad also mentioned a “prolonged and fruitful” trip to Doha before attending the Munich Security Conference.

During a meeting with President Ghani, Khalilzad said the two “spoke about the opportunity of this reduction in violence and the imperative of preparing for an inclusive Afghan peace process.”

“We urge all Afghans to seize the moment and end the misery of more than four decades of war,” Khalilzad said.

Khalilzad said he briefed leaders at the Munich Security Conference about the peace process and “also discussed next steps and committed to working together on the difficult and complicated road ahead.”

“We all know success is not guaranteed but we all believe we must do our best,” Khalilzad said in a tweet. “I appreciate the overwhelming support here for the Afghan peace process.”

Meanwhile, the US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in an address at the Munich Security Conference stated that a political agreement is the best option to end violence in Afghanistan.

“We have on the table right now a reduction in violence proposal that was negotiated between our ambassador and the Taliban. It looks very promising. We have now been for a few days now in the process of consulting, first with our congress–I have had many conversations–and then, secondly—concurrently–with our NATO allies in Brussels.”

He added: “I think there is general agreement–and it is my view as well–that we have to give peace a chance, that the best if not only way forward in Afghanistan is to a political agreement and that means taking some risk, that means enabling our diplomats and that means working together with our partners and allies on the ground to effect such a thing.”

In Kabul, analysts insist on creating a political and national consensus for the peace process by the government.

“Dividing the peace process into different phases is a key,” said Tamim Asey, head of the Kabul-based Institute of War and Peace. “We should be cautiously optimistic that this stage will lead to the second stage, which is intra-Afghan negotiations, and the third stage, which is agreements as an outcome of the intra-Afghan negotiations after they are signed.”

“We think that our expectations and the people’s expectations about a political consensus–after the signing of the US-Taliban agreement and before intra-Afghan negotiations–have not been met, and, so far, there isn’t a political consensus around the process. Mr. President should create a consensus at a national and political level,” said Abdullah Qarloq, deputy head of the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan, also known as Junbish-e-Milli, led by the First Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum.