'Afghan peace deal before July 20 elections better'

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

U.S. negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad commented on the Afghanistan negotiations on Friday, saying he believes "the sooner the better" on such a deal, and that it is his hope that a deal could be reached before the July presidential election in Afghanistan.

Negotiations that would lead to a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan continue to advance, but are a long way from completion, the top U.S. envoy to U.S. -Taliban peace talks said Friday.

For the US, the priority was securing a commitment from the Taliban that it would never again allow a terrorist group to use Afghanistan as a staging ground to attack the USA or its allies, and an agreement in principle was reached on that issue. "What we've achieved so far is significant, but they are two or three small steps in a long journey".

If the Taliban were to hold talks with the Kabul government, it would mean that they had "accepted this stooge regime as a legitimate government (even though it was) imposed upon us by aircraft and (the) bombing of invaders", he said. "Initially, we have focused on two issues, one on the issue of counter terrorism and the other the issue of us forced withdrawal", he said.

Khalilzad called any continued threat of terrorism emanating from Afghanistan a "red line" in negotiations with the Taliban.

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.

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

For the Taliban, "with regard to troops, that was their most important issue", Khalilzad said.


The sides agreed on an assurance to the worldwide community that Afghanistan would not be used as a terror base against any other nation, and that women had the right to education and work in line with Islamic principles.

They detained Taliban members' families as a way to pressure them, a Taliban leader said.

The possibility of a unilateral U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan has created a new wave of uncertainty in the region, "which poses yet another challenge to Pakistan", he warned. The US has set July 2019 target for giving final shape to the peace accord with Taliban, sources said.

Afghanistan has suffered almost constant conflict since the Soviet invasion of 1979, which was followed by civil war, the Taliban regime, and the U.S. invasion in late 2001.

Top Taliban leader Mullah Baradar who now leads the peace efforts with the United States, was released by Pakistan at the behest of the Trump Administration, a USA envoy said. He added: "Nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to".

The Taliban refuses to meet the Afghan government, dismissing it a puppet of the West, and insists that foreign troops must leave the country.

Afghanistan's envoy to Washington, Roya Rahmani, said that any Pakistani shift in behavior was still not apparent from Kabul, which has yet to participate in the talks.

"The timing of a peace settlement from our point of view is the sooner is better", Mr Khalilzad said.

Related News:



Most liked

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 'to be appointed Manchester United boss'
United are a point clear of Chelsea and Arsenal , and nine points behind third-placed Tottenham after 26 Premier League matches. You've just got to be ready when you get the chance. "We're on a great run but I think the players are feeling the same".

Leicester striker Jamie Vardy misses penalty immediately after coming on as substitute
But Son had the last word in the 90th minute as the winger raced clear to slot past Schmeichel for his 15th goal of the season. But Lloris came to Tottenham's rescue, plunging to his right to keep out Vardy's spot-kick.

Coca-Cola adds new flavor
Coke considered other global flavor options such as raspberry, lemon, and ginger, but eventually landed on Orange Vanilla. In introducing the new Orange Vanilla Coke , it hopes to ensure the Coke brand doesn't begin to feel stale with consumers.

French 'Yellow Vest' Marches Continue for 13th Weekend
But last week's official estimates were disputed both by march organisers and an independent estimate carried out for news media. Today, there have been more clashes between riot police and protestors on the street, with tear gas and grenades deployed.

Gallery: This is the new 2020 edition Subaru Legacy
Inside, the dashboard is dominated by a 11.6-inch Full HD touchscreen: it'll be standard on the Premium, Sport, and Limited trims. In more detail, we're looking at a 2.4-liter boxer mill making 260 hp and 277 lb-ft of twist routed through a Lineartronic CVT.

Miley Cyrus and parents at MusiCares Person of the Year 2019
In her acceptance speech, she said: "I have worked with so many wonderful men". Video of Sunday's Parton tribute will be posted when it becomes available.

Your next flagship will be based on Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 855 chipset
Intel will not have 5G-capable chips ready in time for the commercial production of smartphones in 2019, per the report . On Monday, Verizon and Samsung said they plan to bring a 5G smartphone to the U.S. market in the first half of 2019.

Blast of ice and snow in forecast for Mississauga, Brampton Tuesday
Some showers also develop Sunday, but our next best chance of rain comes between Monday and Tuesday of next week. Light freezing rain is possible in NW Arkansas overnight into the early morning.

BAFTA suspends Bryan Singer nomination post allegations
Singer did not direct all of the film after disputes about his absences from the set. Singer has denied the allegations .

UFC 234: Israel Adesanya defeats UFC legend Anderson Silva
Whittaker was forced out of his UFC 234 main event bout opposite Kelvin Gastelum after requiring urgent surgery on Sunday morning. Along the way, he has become a household name with MMA fans as one of the most marketable talents in the game.

Records show previous year was the fourth-warmest
The damage included Hurricane Michael's $25 billion tally and $24 billion each from Hurricane Florence and the western wildfires. In January, the same organization warned that levels of planet-warming carbon dioxide will rise by a near-record amount in 2019.

Tucker Airs Footage Of The FBI’s Raid On Roger Stone’s Home
Prosecutors are not asking for a blanket ban on Stone appearing publicly or discussing matters unrelated to his case. Roger Stone's attorneys says that his comments don't merit a "clear and present danger to a fair trial".

What is the mysterious dark vortex NASA has just found on Neptune?
This image, taken by Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), reveals a vast bright stormy cloud cap across the north pole of Uranus. The long, thin cloud to the left of the dark spot is a transient feature that is not part of the storm system.

Orlando Apollos Dominate Atlanta in Inaugural Game of AAF
We certainly did as a staff, and I would say the Apollos had the same situation, and the officials did as well. In the Alliance of American Football roster building process, every NFL team was assigned an AAF affiliate.

Tokyo 2020: Medals to be made from recycled waste
For a long time now there has been a lot of talk about e-waste and how to deal with the magnanimity of the problem. On the organising committee's website, there's a detailed explanation of how they have gone about doing this.