Troop Withdrawal Depends On Enduring Peace: Khalilzad
The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, on Tuesday said that the US forces withdrawal from Afghanistan is linked with enduring peace and with the type of situation in the country.
Khalilzad arrived in Kabul on Sunday where he will “stay for some time” and “will be consulting widely” as he described in a tweet on June 9.
“A peace which creates an environment where there is no need for the US mission here and the assurance that threat will not be staged from Afghanistan against the US, and the Afghans will not want the US to stay here, in that case, the US is ready to leave Afghanistan,” Khalilzad said during a meeting with Afghan politicians in the northern province of Balkh on Tuesday.
In Balkh, Khalilzad met with the second deputy chief executive, Mohammad Mohaqiq, and former Balkh governor, Atta Mohammad Noor.
Mohaqiq, who met with Khalilzad behind the closed doors, said the two sides exchanged views on a political settlement of the ongoing conflict in the country.
“We held detailed discussions on expediting the Afghan peace process,” Mohaqiq said. “Our position is that the Taliban must engage in intra-Afghan talks. So far, we did not have negotiations; it was only an intra-Afghan dialogue.”
Mohaqiq has met with the Taliban members two times in Moscow: in February and in May, where he has bluntly called for overcoming the rifts between the two sides and has insisted on intra-Afghan talks.
Meanwhile, Mohaqiq said that in this meeting with Khalilzad, the Afghan politicians called for some limitations on President Ghani’s authorities.
“Discussions were also held on the issue of elections. It was urged to have the views of the candidates about holding the [upcoming presidential] elections and the indiscriminate use of the government and the increment president from his authorities which were supposed to be limited in the view of elections, but it did not happen. Several ambassadors were appointed in a one day, several ministers were appointed in one day and even 30 police commanders were designated in a day including heads of dozens of electoral commissions. These were all issues and protests that we had,” Mohaqiq explained.
According to the US Embassy in Kabul, Khalilzad will hold talks with leaders of the National Unity Government, political leaders, civil society, and women.