U.S. envoy holds talks with Taliban

November 19, 2018

TEHRAN - Less than a fortnight after participating in a peace dialogue in Moscow, which also saw participation of representatives from over dozen countries, Afghan Taliban held talks with a U.S. envoy in Qatar this week.

Zalmay Khalilzad, the former American diplomat who was appointed by the Trump administration recently as a ‘peace envoy’ to Afghanistan, represented U.S. in the talks held in Doha where the insurgent group has a political office.

Speaking to media persons in Kabul on Sunday, without specifically referring to the Taliban, Khalilzad said he is “talking to all interested parties, all Afghan groups”, adding that there was “an opportunity for reconciliation and peace.”

“The Afghan government wants peace,” he said. “The Taliban are saying they do not believe they can succeed militarily, that they would like to see the problems that remain, resolved by peaceful means, by political negotiations.”

The war in Afghanistan has stretched into its 18th year now and the U.S. government has faced blistering criticism at home and abroad for failing to bring peace to the war-ravaged country. U.S. forces in Afghanistan have been accused of rampant human rights abuses.

The move to appoint Khalilzad as ‘peace envoy’ to facilitate talks with the Taliban, experts believe, is eyewash to tell the world that the U.S. is interested in peace.

Taliban has demanded the lifting of sanctions against the group’s leaders, the release of prisoners and the recognition of their office in Qatar. During Moscow talks, the group said they want unconditional withdrawal of ‘foreign forces’ from Afghanistan.

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