Amid raging violence, Khalilzad urges warring sides to begin all-Afghan talks

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KABUL: The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad has stressed that there is ‘no legitimate reason’ to defer the intra-Afghan negotiations whose launch has seemingly been impeded due to differences over the release of the remaining Taliban inmates in government custody.


Khalilzad made the remarks on his Twitter handle on Friday following the death of a high-ranking education official, Abdul Baqi Amin, who was killed in an explosion in Kabul on Wednesday.


“The right tribute to Dr. Amin is for all sides to reduce violence and immediately start intra-Afghan negotiations,” Khalilzad said, adding that “there is no legitimate reason for delay.”


Meanwhile, the commander of NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, Gen. Scott Miller, in a visit to the north of the country, with Deputy Defense Minister Shah Mahmood Miakhil, has also emphasized that the Taliban should reduce violence.


“The Afghan people want peace,” said Miller, adding “it’s a requirement that the Taliban lower their violence. We’ve talked with the Afghan security forces – all violence does is continue to create more violence.”  


The calls for a reduction in violence come as fighting is raging on across the country, especially the north. It’s reported that clashes are still ongoing in Faryab and Badakshan provinces, inflicting heavy casualties on both warring sides. Moreover, the delay in prisoner release, also due to some foreign countries’ opposition, has directly translated into increased violence so far in the country.