WASHINGTON DC: While showing optimism about US and Taliban peace talks, the US special representative Zalmay Khalilzad during at event titled “Prospects for peace in Afghanistan” at the Unites States Institute of Peace stated that we have reached agreement with the Taliban that they will never allow terrorists to use Afghan soil and in return the US forces will withdraw its troops from Afghanistan in phases.
Khalilzad once again reiterated his stance that “nothing is agreed till everything is agreed” and insisted that the Taliban must learn from the mistakes of the past and ensure a better future for Afghans.
He further said that everything in Afghanistan should be done on the wishes of Afghans which include rights of women, free press, education for all and above all to have peace in the country.
The special envoy further said that there are complexities as well while attempting to bring peace in Afghanistan which include the important players of the region.
Khalilzad hoped that peace agreement takes place before the elections so that election is peaceful and Taliban have the chance to participate in the elections as well.
Khalilzad said that for national security prospective the US wants to make sure Afghanistan is not used again to attack America. For the prospective of Taliban, the withdrawal of US troops is most important issue and he hoped that progress is made on both of these prospectives.
In reply to a question, Khalilzad reiterated that President Trump has always wanted to end the war in Afghanistan and that he wants the US troops to come back home.
Regarding a question about ceasefire, Khalilzad said that US believes that ceasefire should take place immediately but Taliban believes that ceasefire will make them weaker on the discussion table.
With regard to intra dialogue, Khalilzad said that this dialogue should start immediately and this will solve many problems and misunderstandings between the Afghan government and Taliban.
But Khalilzad also mentioned that the reason why Taliban does not want dialogue with Ashraf Ghani is because this will give legitimacy to the Afghan government.
In reply to a question about women rights and concern of civil society, Khalilzad said that “we strongly believe in our values and on universal values and the US will not compromise on them.”