KABUL, 10 July 2019 [Fik/News Sources]: The U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, left Doha for Beijing on Tuesday en-route to Washington amid extensive talks with the Taliban.
Khalilzad is spearheading the Trump administration’s push for a truce and eventual withdrawal of troops from the war-ravaged country.
“I had a meeting with the Taliban this morning. Headed to China now and then will return to Washington to report and consult on the #AfghanPeaceProcess”, he tweeted.
Khalilzad is busy in seventh round of talks with the Taliban in the Qatari capital, Doha. This comes amid escalating violence across Afghanistan in an apparent bid for upper hand ahead of a proposed peace deal.
Earlier in the week, he said the last six days of talks with the leaderships of Taliban was 'most productive session to date'. Khalilzad claimed substantive progress was made during these negotiations on all four key points namely the counter-terrorism assurances, troop withdrawal, participation in intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations, and permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.
The Taliban also hailed progress. Spokesman for the Taliban's Qatar office, Suhail Shaheen, was also upbeat about the developments. 'We are satisfied with progress & hope remaining points will be finalized soon. We have not faced major obstacle so far", he said in a social media post.
Meanwhile, the European Union urged the warring sides in Afghanistan on Tuesday the attacks such as the one that took place in Ghazni on Sunday, killing and injuring innocent civilians, must be confined to the past.
“The intra-Afghan Dialogue that concluded yesterday in Doha, Qatar, marks an important step towards achieving the peace the people of Afghanistan deserve and have long demanded”, it said in a statement.
Though, the Afghan government was not officially represented at the intra-Afghan talks with the Taliban on Sunday and Monday, a number of top officials from Kabul attended the moot in personal capacity.