US Permanent Representative to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchinson on Tuesday during a press conference firstly expressed that when Washington had the new strategy for Afghanistan in 2017, the end result which was agreed among allies was that they would seek a peace agreement that is led by Afghanistan.
“Afghan led peace. What we would consider the conditions that we are spending so much to provide”, Hutchinson said.
She also informed how US Special Representative Khalilzad is now in the process of beginning to attempt towards putting together a peace consultation. She clarified that the process is “not even yet ready for any peace talks”.
She explained the reason for this saying that it’s important to first get the players at the same table and agree on what will be discussed, who will be there, and how it can go forward. “We’re not there yet, but I think Ambassador Khalilzad is doing very well in beginning to set the places that we would hope would begin a real peace agreement for Afghanistan, for the security of the country as well as the elimination of terrorism in that country that could grow and be exported to NATO allies or ourselves,” Hutchinson added.
Hutchinson reiterated that before any end result, what’s most imperative are the peace talks and the peace discussions before.
“I think that you have to determine as best you can what would be the first steps to getting to the table. I think the different parties have different requirements for that.”
Speaking about the recent informal format of “intra-Afghan” talks between Taliban representatives and non-governmental Afghan politicians in Moscow, Hutchinson
remarked that the group that met in Moscow could be a “force for good”.
But she also said regarding this meeting that Ambassador Khalilzad “is not being judgmental” because they don’t know yet if all of those parties can be brought to the table.
Commenting on regional cooperation towards Afghan peace, she expressed hope that all of the outside potential forces, the regional actors, would be positive about helping Afghanistan go into a peace accord that will make “Afghanistan a stronger country and a stronger neighboring nation”.
She also added that it’s not a time to be discussing the barriers to come to the table while emphasising that they have to try to get all of the parties to agree on a common goal. This common goal is “a strong and independent Afghanistan that will not allow terrorist networks to grow, and be harbored in Afghanistan or in any of the outside countries neighboring Afghanistan”.
On being questioned about what’s the significance and inference of an “Afghan-led” process, she clarified that what they mean is for all of the the key players in Afghanistan to be at the negotiating table.
Hutchinson therefore, went on to say that this is the reason that Taliban is being a part of trying to bring everyone in.
Referring to the upcoming presidential elections, the permanent representatives of US to NATO said that as Afghanistan will experience an election season, there will be factions within that election process that Washington and its allies hope to be included in some representative way.
What she essentially meant was that in the political representation, no faction of Afghanistan shall be left out as it could hamper the path towards peace in the country.