Afghan peace quest: Khalilzad embarks on swing through region

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KABUL: The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad has arrived in Doha, Qatar, as part of a visit through the region to drum up support for the immediate start of intra-Afghan talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.


A statement issued by the US State Department said Khalilzad “will be traveling in the region to advance ongoing US efforts to promote the immediate start of intra-Afghan negotiations (IAN).”


“The Afghan people are ready for a sustainable reduction in violence and a political settlement that will end the war,” reads the statement.


The statement also called on the Afghan leaders to seize the historic opportunity for peace, urging all sides to take essential steps in order to remove obstacles on the way of IAN. “Now is the time to start,” it added.


This comes as earlier reports suggested that the long-anticipated talks will get going in Doha this week. On Saturday, the Taliban announced it had finalized the negotiating team.


On the other hand, there are contradictory signals coming from the government’s side. Earlier Hafeez Manoor, a member of the Afghan govt.‘s 21-member negotiating team, said the government team won’t be able to travel to Doha till the end of this week for the launch of intra-Afghan talks.


However, Pajhwok Afghan News reported on Sunday that Ghulam Farooq Majroh, another member of the negotiating team, stated that the negotiating team was scheduled to travel to Doha tomorrow (Monday).