Khalilzad Reacts To Taliban’s Rejection Of ‘Laying Down Arms’

The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad on Saturday reacted to a comment by the Taliban on rejecting of his call for laying down their arms and stopping violence as part of efforts to move forward the ongoing peace process.

In a tweet on Friday, May 3, Khalilzad said that on the opening session in Qatar, he underscored to the Taliban that it is time to quit violence and embrace peace as it is a demand of Afghans.

“In our opening session, I underscored to the Talibs that the Afghan people, who are their brothers and sisters, want this war to end. It is time to put down arms, stop the violence, and embrace peace,” Khalilzad said in the tweet.

However, a Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a tweet in response to Khalilzad that “the US Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad should forget about the idea of putting down our arms, adding that instead of such “fantasies” he should drive the idea home about ending the use of force and incurring further human and financial losses for the Kabul administration”.

Khalilzad, who is holding the sixth round of talks with Taliban members in Qatar, responded to the comment on Saturday and said laying down arms is the outcome of any peace process.

“All sides laying down arms is the outcome of any peace process. All sides agreeing to reduce violence is a necessary step toward achieving that outcome and the morally responsible choice to make. We stand ready,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Taliban in a statement on Friday, May 3, rejected the call for a ceasefire which was the main demand of the grand council of almost 3,200 Afghan delegates from around the country. The group said that they will not stop “Jihad” as it will have more “benefits” during the Ramadhan month.

This round of talks is a continuation of the last two rounds of talks that took place in Doha between the two parties, which aim to achieve peace and stability in Afghanistan.

The two parties will discuss the four components of the framework agreement, which was agreed upon in the last two rounds of talks, which are: foreign troop withdrawal, guarantees that will prevent the use of Afghanistan soil by any groups or individuals against the security of the United States or any other country, intra-afghan dialogue and negotiations, and reduction in violence leading to a comprehensive ceasefire.

Pointing out to this, Khalilzad said: “peace will require that we find common-ground on four inter-connected issues: troop withdrawal, counter-terrorism assurances, intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations, and reduction in violence leading to a comprehensive ceasefire”.

“Nothing will be final until we agree on all four issues,” he reiterated.

According to a report by Qatar-based QNA News, the State of Qatar, which acts as the mediator in this conflict, welcomes the current round of talks between the United States and the Taliban and considers this round an important development to achieve peace in Afghanistan.

Furthermore, the report says, Qatar hopes that these rounds of talks will achieve the desired results to achieve peace and stability in Afghanistan.

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