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Deferral of peace efforts translates into opportunity for spoilers, warns Khalilzad

The expected launch of all-Afghan talks this month have aroused interest of foreign investors and Afghanistan’s economic development

AT News

KABUL: The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad in a video conference with President Ashraf Ghani and Chariman Abdullah Abdullah conferred on overcoming obstacles in the way of the soon-to-intitate intra-Afghan negotiations.

The release of prisoners from both sides – the Afghan government and the Taliban – is considered to be main issue that is hindering the launch of the intra-Afghan negotiations.

In a series of tweets, the US peace envoy said: “We discussed the importance of quick-hit programs as well as longer-term infrastructure programs that will provide significant employment opportunities. Power and healthcare are two critical areas that merit support. They help with economic development and improve peoples’ quality of life.”

Khalilzad maintained that the sides shared a common view that economic benefits of peace far outweigh benefits of war.

“A sustainable peace can mean investment with less risk, lower cost and faster capital deployment,” he said.

Khalilzad was joined by CEO of US International Development Finance Corporation Adam Boehler in this meeting – something that indicates that deliberation over future plans for Afghanistan’s development has already started.    

 “On peace we emphasized the immediate step is to rapidly resolve the remaining issues surrounding the start of intra-Afghan negotiations. Delay provides opportunities for spoilers,” he added.

Khalilzad believed that investment was possible only if Afghan leaders made the decisions conducive for economic development. “We also emphasized the importance of regional economic development and prosperity.”

The intra-Afghan negotiations are expected in the near future but critics say the prisoners’ release is a main issue that has resulted in multiple delays in the process.

This comes as President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on Thursday said strategies to release Taliban prisoners and intra-Afghan talks will be finalized next week.

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