The U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said he returned to the region “disappointed” by the violence and asked the Afghan government and the Taliban to work harder towards forging a ceasefire at the peace negotiations.
He made his comments ahead of flying to Qatar where he will meet the two negotiating teams.
“I return to the region disappointed that despite commitments to lower violence, it has not happened. The window to achieve a political settlement will not stay open forever,” he wrote in a tweet on Tuesday.
The diplomat said, “Afghans are dying at a high rate, and regional spoilers are using Afghans as cannon fodder for their illegitimate objectives.”
The talks between the government delegation and the Taliban in Doha have been progressing slowly due to disagreements on the procedural rules for the negotiations.
“The sides must move past procedure and into substantive negotiations,” Khalilzad’s office said in a statement.
“Too many Afghans are dying,” the envoy said, reiterating that the sides need “an agreement on a reduction of violence leading to a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.”
He reiterated that “intransigence and a refusal to abandon animosity, embrace fellow citizens, and agree on a formula for political cooperation/competition underpin the ongoing war.”
Khalilzad departed for Oslo, Norway on Oct. 26, where he discussed international coordination and support of the Afghan peace process.
In Doha, Khalilzad will meet with the negotiating teams to follow up on ongoing discussions to reduce violence and press both sides to “immediately stem the recent increase in violence that Afghans across the country are being forced to bear.”
Along with international partners, he will press the two negotiating teams to accelerate their efforts and agree to a political roadmap that ends Afghanistan’s 40-year-long war.
This comes amidst a spate of explosions and violence in Afghanistan.