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Zalamy Khalizad

The Afghan peace agreement is based on the Taliban’s ceasefire: US peace envoy

Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special envoy for peace in Afghanistan, said on Sunday that any peace treaty with the Afghan Taliban would depend on the declaration of a permanent ceasefire and its commitment to end the country’s long war.

In an interview with Afghanistan’s largest private television channel, Tolo News, Khalilzad said the Taliban’s demands are focused on withdrawing US forces from the country.

Our focus is on terrorism. If we do not see a permanent ceasefire and a commitment to end the war, no agreement will be made, he said. We seek peace and (a) political settlement, we want peace to give us the opportunity to retreat. “

The Afghan-born US diplomat arrived in Kabul on Saturday to meet with President Ashraf Ghani, who was part of a multi-country tour ahead of his next meeting with the Taliban in Qatar.

There are about 14,000 soldiers as part of a NATO-led mission, known as Resolute Support, which educates and assists the security forces in their war against Taliban fighters in Afghanistan and extremist groups such as Daesh and Al Qaeda.

US President Donald Trump wants to reach an agreement to end the longest war in his country, which removed the Taliban from Afghanistan after the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.

An intense struggle continues all over the country, and while the Taliban is negotiating, it now controls and affects more than any point since 2001.

The United States plans to reduce the number of its personnel in the Kabul Embassy by half to half of next month, and some have feared that such a move could undermine the fragile peace process.

Before embarking on his trip to Khalilzad, the Foreign Ministry said it would “continue negotiations with the Taliban to promote reconciliation in key national security issues and to engage in a comprehensive Afghan dialogue”.

After a few rounds of negotiations, Khalilzad reported that the US troops had withdrawn and had made some progress on how the Taliban would prevent extremists from using Afghanistan to launch attacks in 2001, as Al Qaeda did.

But the Taliban still refuses to negotiate with Ghani’s government, which he calls a US-controlled puppet regime.

Khalilzad told Tolo that there has been progressing in recent weeks in such a way as to improve such dialogue and “not as much as I want”.

The hopes of this breakthrough were cut earlier this month as the talks between Taliban and 250 Afghan representatives collapsed in Doha, the capital of Qatar.

Hoping to renew the pressure for direct talks with the Taliban, Ghani gathered a large consultative assembly on Monday.

Loya Jirga, traditional elders, religious scholars, and well-known Afghans, will see over 3,000 people gathered under security for a four-day debate in a large tent in Kabul.

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