US envoy, Taliban leader and Pakistan army chief discuss Afghan peace process
US special peace envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, has met with the Taliban deputy leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Qatar to discuss Afghan peace. After meeting with the Taliban leader, Mr. Khalilzad left Doha for Islamabad where he met with Pakistani authorities and discussed Afghan peace process, according to Taliban’s political office in Doha and the US Embassy in Pakistan.
In the meetings, Khalilzad was accompanied by commander of
US-led NATO mission in Afghanistan Resolute Support, General Austin Scott
According to Suhail Shaheen, spokesperson for Taliban’s
political office in Doha, the US top diplomat and military commander in
Afghanistan talked about “complete implementation” of the US-Taliban peace
deal, delay in release of the prisoners, violation of the agreement, and
solutions for the problems in their meeting with the Taliban delegation. “The
meeting was hosted by Sheikh Mohammad bin Abdur Rahman Al-thani, foreign
minister and Deputy-Prime Minister of Qatar,” he added.
The US-Taliban agreement was signed by Khalilzad and Mullah
Baradar, after nearly a two year long direct talks between negotiators of the
two sides, on February 29 in Doha, capital of Qatar. The Taliban, however, have
repeatedly accused the US and Afghan government of violating the agreement
since then, inter-alia, delays in release of the group’s prisoners held by the
The claims made by the Taliban, however, have been rejected
by US military officials in Afghanistan, most often with a supporting stance to
defend the Afghan national defense and security forces in line with the
agreement signed in Doha.
Moreover, in a brief visit to Islamabad, the US officials
have also discussed the Afghan peace process and US peace efforts for a
sustainable peace in Afghanistan in meeting with Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff
General Qamar Javed Bajwa. “Pakistan’s military leaders reaffirmed their
support for U.S. efforts and renewed their commitment to act to advance a
political settlement to the conflict,” part of a statement issued by the US
embassy in Islamabad reads.
On the other hand, NATO secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg has
called for a full implementation of the US-Taliban agreement. “We call on the
Taliban to cease the attacks, to fully implement the agreement between the
United States and the Taliban and to reduce violence because that’s the only
way towards a peaceful negotiated solution”, Mr. Stoltenberg was quoted as
saying at an online press conference.
Meanwhile, spokesperson for Afghanistan Office of the
National Security Council, Javid Faisal, has said that the Taliban have
increased violence in Afghanistan, calling again on the militant group to stop
killings and agree on a permanent ceasefire.