Pakistan freed Taliban co-founder at US request: Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad

11 Février, 2019, 07:55 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • U.S. Army General Joseph Votel commander U.S. Central Command

Dan Feldman, a former USA special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said he believed Washington was still hesitant to become too hopeful about Pakistan's change in posture.

Even the U.S. has to admit that Russian Federation played a "positive role" in the Afghan peace process, and rushed to call for peace talks itself.

"We are in the early stage of a protracted process", he said in remarks at the United States Institute of Peace, adding, "We have a long way to go". In return, the USA has agreed to the possibility of troop withdrawal as part of a package deal.

There are only about 14,000 USA troops in Afghanistan, but their presence ensures a continuous flow of U.S. financial assistance to Afghanistan.

"Instead of legitimising the Taliban, giving them an global stage to express their medieval and misogynistic agenda, the "delegation" could have stood with the nation's call, which is supporting the entity of the government", said Mr. Malikzada. He also clarified that the Taliban's negotiators agreed to the condition, but not its leadership.

The Taliban has yet to make concessions on two key USA demands - implementing a cease-fire and agreeing to negotiate directly with Afghan government representatives as part of an Afghan-led, intra-Afghan peace process.

US troops invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 and toppled the Taliban government within weeks.

But Khalilzad, a former USA ambassador to Kabul, suggested that the war-weary nation is prime for peace.

All sides tell me that I've talked to that they've learned lessons from the past. "They may be part of a power-sharing arrangement in Afghanistan". It is unclear which stakeholders that may include.

The Afghans, he asserted, must sit across the table with each other and come to an agreement about their future of their country.

The Us has offered to do what it can to be helpful if help is needed, but it's for the Afghans to decide and it's for the Afghans to have the conversations, to negotiate with each other. "It's for the Afghans to accept each other", Khalilzad said.

The US can not be a substitute for decisions that they must make.

Another obstacle on the "very long road" to peace, is the Taliban's refusal to enact a cease-fire.

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"After many conversations, we have reached an agreement in principle with the Taliban on a framework that would provide guarantees and an enforcement mechanism that no terrorist group - global terrorist group or individual - would be able to use Afghanistan" as a platform for worldwide terrorism, he said.

Both sides called the gathering "successful" and issued a nine-point declaration, one that calls for regular intra-Afghan dialogues but, more interestingly, also recognises specific demands made by the Taliban, like its call for a complete withdrawal of foreign forces.

Khalilzad called any continued threat of terrorism emanating from Afghanistan a "red line" in negotiations with the Taliban.

The Taliban leader, who declined to be identified, said Pakistan had kept "unprecedented pressure" on the militants and their close relatives over the past few months.

Singh added that it's significant that in his speech on Friday Khalilzad rejected the notion that the U.S.is handing control of the country over to the Taliban, who ruled from 1996 to 2001.

With regard to how the Islamist group's influence will affect women in Afghanistan, Khalilzad said the Taliban "have a different view on this issue now".

Speaking after Reuters reported the shift, Khalilzad confirmed at a forum in Washington that "there is a positive change in recent times" by Islamabad.

NPR's Scott Simon, who spent time in Afghanistan shortly after US forces toppled the Taliban, reported, "Under the Taliban, women couldn't leave their homes without a male relative". They couldn't speak in public.

He said an American withdrawal from Afghanistan was not the main aim of the talks, but to bring an end to the country's 17-year war.

They "called for the protection of freedom of speech in line with Islamic principles, and to undertake efforts to attract global assistance for the reconstruction of Afghanistan's infrastructure". The war is now considered a stalemate.

The possibility of a unilateral U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan has created a new wave of uncertainty in the region, "which poses yet another challenge to Pakistan", he warned.

The talks come as President Donald Trump pushes to end the Afghanistan conflict, where about 14,000 United States troops are still deployed and which has seen countless thousands of civilian and military deaths.

The remaining USA troops - between 7,000 to 8,000 - would shift their focus to counterterrorism efforts, according to Bowman.

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