US peace envoy meets NUG leaders ahead of rejoining talks with Taliban

The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad has met with leaders of the National Unity Government, President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah, on Wednesday, December 04, in Kabul.

The US Department of State said in a statement on Tuesday, December 03, that Khalilzad will rejoin peace talks with the Taliban in Qatar after his Kabul visit.

“In Doha, Ambassador Khalilzad will rejoin talks with the Taliban to discuss steps that could lead to intra-Afghan negotiations and a peaceful settlement of the war, specifically a reduction in violence that leads to a ceasefire,” part of the statement read.

President Ghani and Khalilzad have discussed the pursuit of issues like cease-fire and the Taliban’s hideouts outside Afghanistan, said the statement issued by the presidential palace.

“The ceasefire and the Taliban’s hideouts outside the country must be taken seriously in proceeding with the peace process,” Ghani has notified for the US envoy.

Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, some Jihadi leaders, and a number of MPs also met with Khalilzad and his accompanying delegation, according to a statement issued by the Office of Chief Executive. “We support the US efforts to achieve a durable peace,” said Abdullah at the meeting.

According to the statement, Khalilzad has briefed the participants of the meeting about his trip to Afghanistan, peace efforts, and the demands of US and the Taliban over the issue of peace in the country.

Participants of the meeting also emphasized on reduction of violence by the Taliban as a “precondition” for resuming peace talks with the Taliban and reaching a US-Taliban peace deal.

Members of the parliament emphasized on the urgency of the Intra-Afghan negotiations and called it the only appropriate way to achieve sustainable peace.

They further stressed on forming an inclusive negotiating team that can represent the Afghan government, all political parties, and civil society organizations in the peace talks with the Taliban.