US supportive of Afghan peace bid, won't engineer it
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): The United States is supportive of the Afghan-led peace process and is not looking to engineer it, a State Department official said on Tuesday, but declined detailing its role in the latest talks between Kabul and the Taliban in Qatar.
“I'm not going to speak about what our role may or may not be with regard to this new initiative. As we made clear before, we believe a peace accord is really the primary or the only pathway to ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan,” the State Department deputy spokesman said.
Mark Toner told reporters at his daily news conference the US had supported and continued to back an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process for negotiated resolution to the conflict. And we're committed to promoting that as much as we can,” he said.
Asked about the latest peace initiative in Doha, he replied: “I want to be very careful about how I describe our role, except to say that we are supportive of a process,” he said.
“But we've always been clear that fundamentally, this needs to be Afghan-lead and Afghan-owned. So we're not looking to engineer this, we're not looking to supervise this in any way, shape or form. This is something the Afghan government and the Taliban would have to take on their own,” Toner added.
He acknowledged that regional dynamics did play a role in the security situation in Afghanistan. He argued regional dynamics played into any country's domestic situation, and with that in mind, the US had been working hard to push Pakistan to go after all terrorist groups on its territory.
“We are pushing for more dialog between Pakistan and India, which we believe will help reduce tensions in the region. We have seen India play a more supportive role with regard to Afghanistan and support for the Afghan government,” he said.
America’s goal is to continue to support the Afghan military as it steps up the fight against the Taliban and to support the unity government as it pushes much-needed reforms in the economy and the democratic system, according to the spokesman.
The State Department refused to comment on news reports about lifting travel restrictions on Gulbadin Hekmatyar and reports about his travel to the US. “I don't know, can't confirm that. That would be a big deal. I know. I don't believe so. That's why I took the question. I'm not aware of anything about his visit or his travel or anything. Let me be very clear.”
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