USA seeking peace agreement in Afghanistan, says Trump's special envoy

Afghan National Army prepare for an operation against insurgents in Khogyani district of Nangarhar province

Afghan National Army prepare for an operation against insurgents in Khogyani district of Nangarhar province

By hosting a meeting between the Taliban and other Afghan delegates, Moscow has greatly contributed to a peace process in Afghanistan, ex-President Hamid Karzai said, denouncing years of "failed" United States military presence and policies.

Zalmay said that although his talks with the Taliban have produced a tentative "framework" agreement, the negotiations have a long way to go to achieve peace.

The US diplomat said that previous governments in Afghanistan, whether led by the Taliban or others, had failed because they had tried to impose their views.

Pakistan was now supportive of an intra-Afghan dialogue, including talks between the Taliban and the government, he acknowledged.

The Pakistani assistance, which has not been reported in such detail before, also includes exerting pressure on Taliban leaders who fail to cooperate, including by detaining members of the militants' families, the insurgents say. "But it will be better for Afghanistan if we could get a peace agreement before the election". The ex-president also said he would like to see all foreign troops withdrawing from his country "as soon as possible", even though he admitted that it would likely be a "very hard process".

He also served as the US Ambassadors to Afghanistan and Iraq during the Bush Administration.

Pakistan, long at odds with the United States over the war in Afghanistan, has begun to play a behind-the-scenes but central role in supporting US peace talks with the Afghan Taliban, including by facilitating travel to negotiations, USA officials and Taliban sources say.

Khalilzad is seeking an agreement in which Taliban would negotiate in good faith with the Afghan government and commit to ending any terrorism threat within the country.

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A former United States ambassador to Afghanistan who is now special envoy in the talks, Khalilzad has, in recent months, held meetings with Taliban officials in Qatar, where the group's senior leaders have an office in the capital Doha.

If there is no progress towards peace, he added, "the elections will take place, and we are doing what we can to support the preparations for a credible election".

Khalilzad said he sees himself as a "catalyst" to find a formula for Afghans to sit down with each other and work out a road map for a peaceful future.

European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker has said in a statement on Thursday, talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May were constructive and robust, but the European Union (EU) will not reopen negotiations on the Brexit deal.

Additionally, the Taleban have promised not to shelter foreign extremists, but experts say they can not be trusted and even now are helping to hide such militants.

The US can not be a substitute for decisions that they must make. The US invaded Afghanistan in October 2001, accusing the Taliban of harboring Osama Bin Laden, the accused mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in NY and Washington.

Noting that Mullah Baradar, now based in Doha, was already facilitating the US-Taliban talks, the US envoy said that his role had also been recognised by former Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai and his successor President Ashraf Ghani.

"We first and foremost have to put an end to the occupation and then focus on resolving our internal issues".

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