US envoy Khalilzad

US envoy: we stand with Afghans if Taliban do not choose peace

As the Taliban leadership hesitates to reach a political settlement with the Afghan government, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad warned that the United States will stand by the Afghan government and keep the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan intact.

“If the Taliban do not choose peace, a future based on consensus and compromise, then we will stand with Afghans who strive to keep the Republic intact. Republic political unity is a must,” said US peace envoy in a tweet posted late on Friday.

The remark comes while the Taliban militants have intensified their ground campaign against the Afghan security forces while their leadership has been refusing to resume talks with the Afghan government. In late April, the Taliban refused to attend high-level UN-monitored peace talks that were scheduled to take place in Istanbul, Turkey on April 24.

“There is a unique international consensus for peace, rooted in the support for a negotiated settlement, an end to violence, and rejection of any attempt to impose a military solution,” Khalilzad said.

In a joint statement issued by US-European Communique, on May 07, they condemned the Taliban attacks and targeted killings in Afghanistan, calling on both parties to put an immediate end to violence.

The 20-point declaration urges the parties to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law in all circumstances to protect civilians, and to agree on measures to enable the successful implementation of a comprehensive and lasting ceasefire.

The Taliban should immediately end their campaigns of targeting civil society activists, religious scholars, journalists, and media employees, human rights activists, healthcare personnel, judicial employees, and other civilians, the statement read.

A senior Afghan peace delegate lambasted the Taliban for breaking a commitment to sustainable peace.

In a tweet posted on May 07, Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai, the chief negotiator of the Afghan peace delegation, urged the Taliban to take hold themselves responsible for the peace process.

With the foreign forces withdrawing from Afghanistan, the Taliban have no excuse to continue bloodshed and they expected, especially during the holy month of Ramadan, to pursue a committed path to peace, Stanekzai complained.

When stressed by international diplomats to put an end to targeted violence, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, a member of the Taliban’s office in Qatar, while speaking at a virtual meeting last week, vowed that the Taliban will protect foreign diplomats, journalists, and human rights activists.

The Afghan security officials keep blaming the Taliban militants for targeted violence against journalists, rights activists, and civil servants—something the Taliban deny.

Afghanistan has seen a growing rise in targeted killings ever since the US signed a peace deal with the Taliban in late February 2020, in Doha, the capital of Qatar.