Khalilzad says Taliban won’t consent to truce before a deal

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KABUL: Offering to work with the Afghan negotiating sides for a reduction in violence, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad says the Taliban won’t accept a permanent ceasefire until there is a political settlement in Afghanistan.

In an interview with a US television, he said “The [Taliban] will not accept a ceasefire—comprehensive and permanent—until there is a political settlement. And that is not unprecedented in similar conflicts elsewhere, I think they can do a reduction of violence, they have said they will consider it depending on what the proposal is. The government is supportive of it too.”

Khalilzad said the Taliban were trying to wait until a political settlement was reached and will announce a ceasefire after a general agreement.

This comes as earlier Khalilzad had repeatedly remarked that the US-Taliban agreement would be signed on the condition of a ceasefire in Afghanistan but that didn’t happen as expected.

Referring to the formation of an interim government, the US envoy said the Taliban and the Afghan government delegations will discuss the issue during their talks in Doha.

He said it was the first time that the Afghans got together to reach a political agreement and pave the ground for foreign forces’ exit. He termed this an unprecedented development for the Afghans as he recalled during the withdrawal of Soviet Union forces from Afghanistan, the Afghans did not get together to discuss the political future of their country.