Next Round Of US-Taliban Talks In Qatar To Begin Today
The sixth round of the US and Taliban negotiators in Qatar will begin on Wednesday as a Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a tweet but the US and Afghan officials have not commented on this report.
The US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who will lead the talks from the United States sides, concluded his Islamabad visit on Tuesday.
Khalilzad said in a tweet that Pakistan supports efforts to accelerate intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations, and is committed to helping reduce violence in Afghanistan. “Everyone I saw recognizes the benefit peace will bring to the region,” Khalilzad said.
“I’m also encouraged by the role Pakistan wants to play in building regional consensus in support of the Afghan peace process. The time to implement has come,” he added.
Two analysts who are familiar with the US-Taliban talks in Doha, told TOLOnews on Tuesday that the next round of the talks will begin on Wednesday.
“According to my information, (Zalmay) Khalilzad will go to Qatar to start the sixth round of talks with the Taliban and this will happen before Ramadhan,” said Sayed Akbar Agha, a former Taliban commander.
“The Taliban say that the negotiations will again continue on the timeline for the withdrawal of US forces from the country,” said Wahid Muzhda, a political analyst in Kabul.
In the fifth round of the US-Taliban talks in Doha which ended in mid-March, the two sides agreed in draft on US forces withdrawal and counterterrorism efforts. But according to Khalilzad, nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Tuesday that Islamabad is making sincere efforts for the success of the Afghan peace process.
“I had held several rounds of talks with Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad in Islamabad. We cannot afford to miss this opportunity for peace in Afghanistan,” he said.
Meanwhile, the US Embassy in Kabul in a statement on Tuesday said that Ambassador Khalilzad concluded his visit to Islamabad which was from April 29 to 30 where he held discussions with Pakistani leadership on developments in the Afghan peace process.
“Ambassador Khalilzad met Foreign Secretary Mahmood and other officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as Chief of Army Staff Bajwa and senior military officials,” the statement said.
The statement says that Khalilzad expressed his appreciation for Prime Minister Khan’s recent remarks in support of the peace process and a broader vision for stability and prosperity in the region.
“Ambassador Khalilzad requested and received support for the need to accelerate intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations as well as a reduction in violence, concrete steps necessary for a comprehensive settlement,” the statement added.
According to the statement, Khalilzad reiterated that an end to the war will bring long overdue peace and stability for Afghans and an independent Afghanistan that precludes it from being used by terrorists to attack the United States or any other country.
Khalilzad said such integration contributes to advancing Prime Minister Khan’s vision for a development-centric transformation of Pakistan, the statement concluded.