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Road to peace will require Taliban to sit with Afghan govt.: Khalilzad

16 Jan 2019 1TV News

2019-01-16 | 8 second ago

The road to peace will require the Taliban to sit with the Afghan government, US special envoy said on Monday.

Speaking at a roundtable discussion with media persons, Zalmay Khalilzad, US special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, said that there is a consensus among all the regional partners on Taliban talking to the Afghan government.

“If the Talibs want to talk, we can talk. If they want to fight, we can fight,” Khalilzad said. “We hope that the Talibs want to make peace. But if they do not choose to come to the table, if they choose to continue fighting, the United States will stand with the Afghan people and the Afghan government and support them.”

“We in the coalition are proud of our support to Afghan security forces. Afghan security forces and military pressure are important in this phase,” he said adding Afghan unity is vital.

The Taliban have held at least three rounds of talks with US in recent months, but have refused to talk to Kabul saying US is their main adversary.

In a recent statement, the Taliban threatened to pull out of talks with US if it deflects from the issue of foreign troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“We have never said we want permanent military bases in Afghanistan. What we want is to see this conflict end through negotiation, and to continue our partnership with Afghanistan, and to ensure no terrorist threatens either of us,” Khalilzad said.

“In the long run, we want to have a comprehensive relationship with Afghanistan that honors the sacrifice of the last seventeen years and provides for a better future for all Afghans. That relationship includes a military, diplomatic, and economic relationship,” the envoy said.

Khalilzad hoped that the next talks with the Taliban will happen “very soon.”

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