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Khalilzad in Doha to undo Afghan peace gridlock

U.S. point man for Afghanistan returned to Doha to mediate between Afghan and Taliban peace delegations to reach an understanding on a roadmap for future peace talks

AT News

KABUL: US point-man for peace has returned to Doha, the capital city of Qatar, where the Afghan peace team and the Taliban negotiating members are scrambling to get agendas and the rules and regulations to kick start the intra-Afghan talks.

“Headed back to Doha and the region to meet with partners on Afghan-owned, Afghan-led peace negotiations and prospects for increased regional connectivity, trade, and development following peace,” Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, said in a tweet.

The Afghan people and international community are watching closely and expect the negotiations to make progress toward producing a roadmap for Afghanistan’s political future and a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire, he said.

He is making efforts to facilitate dialogue and negotiations that will bring peace to Afghanistan. After marathon negotiations, Khalilzad was able to ink an agreement with the Taliban – a group President Trump termed them ‘smart’ and ‘tough’.

Now the ball is on the ground between the Afghan peace team and Taliban negotiating members. On 12 September, a grand opening ceremony for the start of intra-Afghan talks was organized in Doha. It was the biggest opening ceremony ever, in which Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, the Chairman of High Council for National Reconciliation, Mullah Baradar, the head of Taliban Qatar team and deputy political leader of the group, the US Secretary of State and other foreign ministers of different countries, including the European Union, had delivered speeches. All the dignitaries supported the peace process and asked on both sides to reach a compromise.  

But, the Kabul and Taliban contact group, despite meeting several times, failed to agree on the rules and regulations of the peace talks. The talks started more than two weeks ago but progress has been sluggish.

Khalilzad’s comeback to Doha is to play a mediator role to bring them to consensus on the procedure and framework for substantive talks.

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