US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad Reprimands Taliban’s Spring Offensive Amid Peace Talks

US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad Reprimands Taliban’s Spring Offensive Amid Peace Talks

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13 Apr 2019

US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad condemned the Taliban’s spring offensive announcement on Friday through a series of tweets.
He described it as a sign of indifference to the demands of Afghans across the country on the part of the Taliban. According to the Taliban, a potential increase in violence is because the government announced a security plan.
Mr. Khalilzad said that “The U.S. and our international partners will stand with Afghan security forces to continue our effort to end the war in Afghanistan.”
He added that “The killing of Afghans must stop. All sides must end unnecessary violence, and instead engage in Intra-Afghan dialogue which leads to negotiations on a political settlement and a roadmap to end the war this year.”
The Spring Offensive by Taliban started with attacks in the eastern part of Afghanistan. The ambassador said that “Through this announcement, Taliban leaders demonstrate their indifference to the demands of Afghans across the country. The call for more fighting will not advance peace efforts. If executed, it will only yield more suffering and thousands of more causalities.”

Despite the recent sanction of 11 members of the Taliban to travel to the United States for the upcoming peace talks, the Taliban chose to violence over peace. The UN Security Council also allowed limited exemption of the financial asset to facilitate their travel. Amidst the full-fledged negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government that will take shape in the coming week at Qatar, such announcements demeaning what a state does best to protect its citizens are a shame.

Zalmay Khalilzad extended his opinion on the same by saying “At a time when all Afghans should come together in talks to determine a common future, a call for fighting suggests the Taliban are stuck in the ways of the past.”

In an effort to end the 18-year long war, the US Special Representative for Reconciliation said that “The killing of Afghans must stop. All sides must end unnecessary violence, and instead engage in Intra-Afghan dialogue which leads to negotiations on a political settlement and a roadmap to end the war this year.”

A rather foolhardy step on the part of the Taliban to initiate a spring offensive titled Operation Al-Fatha – which means “victory” in Arabic can potentially create a dent in the upcoming negotiations. The Resolute Support Mission also expressed great dismay on the announcement and vowed together with the United States government to prevent any such extensions in the future.