Zalmay Khalilzad (File photo)
Zalmay Khalilzad (File photo)

US hails Doha peace talks with Taliban, says 'last 6 days were most productive'

ANI | Updated: Jul 06, 2019 23:56 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], July 6 (ANI): The US Special Representative for Afghan peace reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad on Saturday said that the latest efforts to negotiate peace in war-ravaged country were the "most productive session" to date.
"The last six days of talks have been the most productive session to date. We made substantive progress on All 4 parts of a peace agreement: counter-terrorism assurances, troop withdrawal, participation in intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations, and permanent and comprehensive ceasefire," Khalilzad wrote on Twitter.
Negotiations have gained fresh momentum in recent weeks after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo paid a short visit to Kabul en route to India, at the end of last month.
Khalilzad has held scores of talks with the Afghan government in Kabul and abroad, with the Taliban and neighbour Pakistan.
On Saturday, a 50-member delegation including Afghan political elites, civil society members, youths and journalists left Kabul for Doha ahead of the seventh round of intra-Afghan talks, facilitated by Germany and Qatar, to begin on Sunday.
An earlier round of intra-Afghan talks, which were to be held in April, was called off after the Taliban did not agree on the list of Kabul officials who were supposed to attend the peace talks.
The Taliban have consistently refused to hold direct talks with President Ashraf Ghani's government calling it a puppet administration. They have, however, readily agreed to talks with any Afghan, including from within the government, but as an ordinary Afghan.
Meanwhile, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who has been conspicuously quiet about the upcoming intra-Afghan dialogue, has consistently demanded Taliban talk directly with the government.
Last month, Ghani held a grand council in Kabul with politicians and tribal, ethnic and religious leaders to discuss the talks between the US and the Taliban in Doha, Al Jazeera reported.
The US envoy further said, "We're pausing talks today to support intra-Afghan dialogue (an intra-Afghan conference for peace), a critical milestone in the Afghan Peace Process."
"There is still important work left to be done before we have an agreement. We will resume on the 9th after the dialogue," he added. (ANI)