The United States has acknowledged that Pakistan has agreed to negotiate with the Taliban

Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special envoy for reconciliation in Afghanistan, said Pakistan had played a key role in persuading the Afghan Taliban to negotiate peace and urged them to reduce violence.

The United States has acknowledged that Pakistan has agreed to negotiate with the Taliban

"Pakistan has been instrumental in what we have done over the last two years, and they have encouraged the Taliban to negotiate with the government and they have encouraged the Taliban to reduce violence," he said. In an interview with local media, Khalilzad said he had also been helpful in negotiating with Afghan leaders.

"And we are urging Afghanistan and Pakistan to sign an agreement that neither side can use its territory against terrorist groups or extremist groups." And I hope we get results in that as well.

"The fact is that for the first time in 42 years, Afghans are at the table. This is a moment of hope and opportunity," he said. "But this moment is not without its challenges."

Peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban began in Doha, Qatar, last month, and deadly violence continues in Afghanistan.

Khalilzad broke an agreement between the US and the Taliban in February. He said the United States had "tested" the Taliban.

"No, we don't take them for granted," he said. "We've asked them to work on terrorism, and they've taken some of the steps we've recommended. It's an ongoing process ... they're not where we want them to be. "But we will not give up. Until we are satisfied that they have actually acted on terrorism and other things that they have committed."

He said both Afghanistan and the United States should avoid the mistakes of the 1990s. "As far as the United States is concerned, we will not make the mistake that was made after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, which was to leave Afghanistan," he said.

Meanwhile, Abdullah, chairman of Afghanistan's High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR), said he was willing to talk to the Taliban in the interest of building consensus and finding a peaceful solution in Afghanistan.

Abdullah's comments in an exclusive interview with Saleem Safi on the Geo News program "Jirga" came in response to the question of why he was not talking directly to the Taliban.

"Inside Afghanistan, we need to build consensus - among the people under the banner of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan - which is important. At the same time, we need to build consensus in the region."

"I am directing all efforts for peace and reconciliation and if the time comes, if need be I talk to the Taliban leaders and they agree, I will do it," Abdullah said.

The Afghan leader said he was in constant touch with the negotiating team.

Talking about the agreement reached between him and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, he said that despite being a foreign guarantor, he would not deviate from the agreement.

"When the two leaders decided to work together, it was based on a common understanding," Abdullah said. "Unity is the need of the hour for the Afghan people," he said.

Talking about the peace deal, which faces many obstacles, he said both sides - the Afghan government and the Taliban - have decided to resume talks after "almost three decades of fighting".

"Through war, there is no winner and through comprehensive peace, there is no defeat," he said. He added: "Personally, I would have preferred it to go faster.

The Afghan official said the people were waiting for the results - a reduction in violence and a ceasefire.

Highlighting Pakistan's role in the intra-Afghan talks, he said: "We appreciate Pakistan's role in the Doha Accords and later in the negotiations."

"I am also grateful to Prime Minister Imran Khan for his message calling for a reduction in the violence resulting from the ceasefire, which is very important," he said. He added that he thanked the Pakistani leadership.

The Afghan official said that he was leaving Pakistan with a positive image of the country and he had no doubt that peace in Afghanistan would lead to peace in Pakistan and ultimately in the region.

Asked if not all the various regional powers are part of the peace talks, he said: "As a whole, all countries are supporting a peaceful agreement."

When asked if Biden, who comes to power after the US presidential election, poses a threat to the peace process, he said that despite differing views, both leaders (US President Donald Trump and Biden) "We support a peaceful settlement in Afghanistan."

"It will not be possible to go back to the old days of tens of thousands of troops," he added.

"This issue is urgent for us, for Afghanistan and for Pakistan and for the region as a whole," because if we do not secure a peaceful settlement, we will suffer the most. "

Abdullah was also asked’ what opportunities he sees for strategic cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"Matters start with small steps. There are grievances on both sides, but there has been progressing in the dialogue and status of relations between the two countries, and even these small steps have had a huge impact," he said. will have."

"As neighbors, we have no choice but to work together."

The Afghan leader said that as more and more parties would address each other's legitimate concerns and work on the basis of common interest, mutual interest would be just as good.

He lauded the visa policy recently approved by the Cabinet, which he termed as a good development on this front.

"It will help people in their relationships," Abdullah said.


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