US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad met with Former Jihadi leader Abdul Rab Rasoul Sayyaf in the latter’s residence on Monday. Khalilzad arrived in Kabul last week to brief leaders and members about the peace process.
Khalilzad wrote on Twitter that “We agree that a national, inclusive, and unified Afghan negotiating team is urgent and necessary”.
Khalilzad in an interview with TOLOnews on Monday expressed that the integration of a strong and unified negotiating team under the aegis of the Afghan government is crucial for achieving progress in the efforts for peace in Afghanistan.
“There are difficulties, but we have agreed with the Taliban to meet again on the 25th of February in Doha. We agreed in principle to talk in details and with more authenticity about two topics to find whether there is the possibility to make more progress on the issue of terrorism and the issue of forces,” Khalilzad said.
“But I want to reassure the people of Afghanistan that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. The two points that you mentioned are largely related to the Afghans. The first issue is that when the ceasefire will be announced, I want a broad-based ceasefire to be announced as soon as possible. Secondly, there is a need for discussions and consultations among Afghans including the [Afghan] government to start soon.”
Khalilzad has been repeatedly emphasising that his two key points in the peace process are: a ceasefire and talks between Afghan government and Taliban, and until that doesn’t happen, nothing else will be finalised.