US State Department Deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino in a press briefing on Tuesday addressed various issues regarding Afghanistan’s peace process.
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Regarding the recent meetings in Abu Dhabi between US and Taliban and other countries, he said “the meetings in Abu Dhabi are part of United States efforts to promote an intra-Afghan dialogue towards ending the conflict in Afghanistan.”
He clarified how the above efforts are a part of US’s South Asia strategy. He said “we have long said that war in Afghanistan will only end when Afghans sit together with mutual respect and acceptance, discuss a political roadmap for their future. So our efforts and those of our partners are focused on this objective right now.”
With respect to US Special Envoy Khalilzad’s visit to the region, he said “Now, Special Representative Khalilzad, he is in the region, and he has in the past been meeting and will continue to meet with all interested parties to support a negotiated settlement to this conflict. And so others are coming together, and we continue to push this forward.”
Additionally, Palladino also answered a query regarding the rumours that Afghanistan’s presidential elections might be postponed in order to get Taliban to agree to direct negotiations. He said “Well, I’m not going to be able to discuss details of private diplomatic conversations. But the United States military presence in Afghanistan remains conditions-based, and that’s the cornerstone of the administration’s strategy. The special representative continues to work with all interested parties in close coordination with the Afghan people and the Afghan Government to facilitate intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations.”
This comes after the Taliban in a statement after their meet with US representatives led by special representative Zalmay Khalilzad clarified that their discussions did not include any topic of an interim government in Afghanistan or a ceasefire. It was cleared that the discussions solely addressed the matter of US intervention’s end in the country.