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Khalilzad expects more setbacks in Doha talks

Khalilzad expects more setbacks in Doha talks

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Sep 24, 2020 - 15:47

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad on Tuesday warned that violence remained unacceptably high in Afghanistaninfo-icon and Washington expected more setbacks in ongoing peace talks between Talibaninfo-icon militants and the Afghan government.

However, he said he had urged the Afghan leaders to take advantage of the opportunity for a political settlement now available to them.

“By any measure, current levels of violence are too high," Khalilzad said. "We know that reductions are possible."

Speaking before the US Foreign Relations Committee, Khalilzad said: "Now, with an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned process and delegations that represent the country's strength and diversity -- including the Afghan government, political leaders, members of civil societyinfo-icon, womeninfo-icon and religious and ethnic minorities -- the people of Afghanistan have reason to hope again," he added.

Khalilzad said the Afghan delegations from the parties to the conflict were now sitting without international mediators or facilitators to bring an end to more than 40 years of war in their country.

On the question of the comprehensive ceasefire, he added, "We hope that the negotiations will soon lead to a significant reduction in violence by all sides, reducing the number of Afghans getting killed or wounded. A reduction of violence will help build the trust necessary for talks to succeed."

Khalilzad further said going forward their strategy will be to "continue holding the Taliban to the commitments they made in the February 29; adjust our force posture consistent with the Agreement; support the parties' efforts to reach a negotiated political settlement, and continue to work with regional and international partners to build international support for Afghanistan Peace Negotiations."

Ahead of the US envoy's testimony, the Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon or Lower house of the Afghanistan Parliament had asked the US Foreign Relations Committee, to pose several questions to Zalmay Khalilzad, on the ongoing peace process in their country.

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