Khalilzad: The Taliban are willing to participate in power
Reporter: Shershah Nawabi
At the height of conflicts and political tensions, the US ambassador for Afghanistan peace says the Taliban have shown a willingness to engage in political power with the Afghan government. In an interview with a private Afghan media, Zalmay Khalilzad, highlighted this issue and emphasized: “In talks between Washington and the Taliban, the group has shown a willingness to participate in political power and emphasized that they know their government had failures, as the ruling of the Mujahedeen and Communists governments which were failed.”
Mr. Khalilzad added: “Next week, we will meet with the leadership of the Taliban political office in Qatar, and we expect a strong national team led by the Afghan government and on the other hand the participation of all political groups, we are willing to proceed our talks with Taliban in Qatar.”
He also said that Pakistan has taken positive steps to facilitate the peace process in Afghanistan. According to Mr. Khalilzad: “Islamabad has taken positive steps in facilitating and supporting the process of peace talks with the Taliban and in achieving lasting peace in Afghanistan its role is important and significant”.
Mohammad Hanif Atmar, the competitor of President Ghani’s team in upcoming elections, has considered political leaders’ meeting with the Taliban as an opportunity for mediation between the Taliban and the government, which the National Unity Government must take advantage of this fundamental opportunity. “We are urging the government to use properly this opportunity,” he said at a news conference, “this is the first step to initiating Afghan-led and Afghan-owned talks between two sides. Political leaders meeting with the Taliban is actually a path to facilitate peace talks for the participation of government Representatives in Talks with the Taliban.”
The government has also emphasized that it would be possible to change the structure and formation of a dialogue panel for face-to-face talks with the Taliban. “If the Taliban guarantees that they will negotiate directly with Afghan government representatives at the meeting, Afghanistan government will attend the summit, otherwise Afghanistan will not attend the Qatar summit,” said Haroon Chakhansouri, spokesman for the Afghan President in a press conference.
While it was scheduled that the Taliban political delegates, to meet with the US ambassador for Afghanistan’s peace talks in Islamabad today and also have a meeting with the Pakistan prime minister in the sidelines of this meeting on Thursday, February 18, but due to the protest of Afghan government in UN security council this meeting was postponed. Meanwhile, political opponents of the National Unity government consider the last position of the government on peace talks as an attempt to sabotage this trend.