Afghanistan, Pakistan should reach joint anti-terrorism deal: Khalilzad

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KABUL: The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad has said that Afghanistan and Pakistan should reach an agreement whereby neither side’s territory should be allowed to serve as a launchpad for terrorist groups.


The top US diplomat made the statements during an interview with journalists during his visit to Doha. Khalilzad’s trip to Doha is aimed at easing differences among negotiating teams of the Taliban and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.


The Taliban stress that the deal signed with the US on February 29 should serve as a basis for intra-Afghan talks while the republic side has suggested four alternatives. The US-Taliban agreement and a joint declaration between the Afghan government, US and NATO signed simultaneously is one of the four options.


Khalilzad reiterated his call on the Afghan political leaders and the Taliban to agree on a peaceful settlement of the conflict in the country and avoid repeating “past mistakes.”


“The fact that the Afghans are sitting across the table for the first time in 42 years is a moment of hope and opportunity,” he said. “But this moment is not without its own challenges.”


He said both Afghanistan and the US must avoid the mistakes of the 1990s. “As for the US, we will not make the mistake that was made after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, which was to abandon Afghanistan,” he said.


About counterterrorism, he said that Afghanistan and Pakistan should reach a joint deal for not giving shelters to extremists in their territories.


“And we are encouraging Afghanistan and Pakistan to sign an agreement that neither side’s territory can be used by terrorist groups or extremist groups against the other. And I hope that we will achieve results in that regard as well,” he added.