In an interview with TOLOnews' Lotfullah Najafizada, US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said that he expects the Afghan peace process to be concluded in months, not years.
Khalilzad also said that the current scale of violence in Afghanistan is not acceptable, and that it is strange how the Taliban has stopped attacks on foreigners but continues attacking Afghans.
“The Taliban attacks are not taking place against the foreign forces...we are happy with that, but, on the other side, the war continues against Afghans,” said Khalilzad.
Meanwhile, Rangeen Dadfar Spanta, Afghanistan's former national security adviser, said in an op-ed on the Afghan news site 8am.af that using the US-Taliban peace agreement as the foundation of the Afghan peace negotiations is a "colonial approach."
Spanta also accused the current government of "uprooting the republic."
Spanta criticized former President Hamid Karzai, saying that he supported--"with unprecedented generosity"--what Khalilzad is trying to "impose" on Afghanistan in the name of peace.
He said that Khalilzad "did not even bother to share his secret deal with the Taliban with Hamid Karzai."
This comes as delegates from both sides of the Afghan peace talks have struggled for nearly a month to agree on the procedural rules of the formal talks between the two sides. However, no breakthrough has been achieved so far.
This comes as last week Khalilzad landed in Doha, causing speculation that his mission was to mediate between the two sides. But Khalilzad himself said that he traveled to Doha for the purpose of implementing the US-Taliban peace agreement and to assist in attempts to reduce violence.
Although the Afghan government has refused to accept the US-Taliban deal as the foundation of the talks, Khalilzad believes that US-Taliban deal does in fact provide a valid basis.
“These principles have been accepted by all and (the US-Taliban agreement) lays a major and an important foundation,” said Khalilzad.
“There is a high level of violence, violence needs to be reduced, a commitment has been made regarding this issue, we want that commitment to be honored,” said Khalilzad.
National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib said on Tuesday that the current negotiations which are underway in Doha are taking place only between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban, stating that there are no foreign mediators in the room, nor are any wanted.
Mohib said that Kabul did not want the terms of the US-Taliban peace deal to be imposed on the Afghan people.
Mohib added that Kabul was not involved in the US peace agreement with the Taliban and would like to see a new process at work in the negotiations between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban.
According to delegates, the Taliban is insisting that the current talks fall within the framework and conditions of the February US-Taliban agreement.
"We do not see (the US-Taliban Agreement) as important at this point, because we were not included in that agreement. And we don't want the conditions in that agreement to be imposed on the Afghan people, because we were not part of that process," said Mohib.
Khalilzad also said that he believes that the outcome of the upcoming presidential election in the United States will not make much of a difference in US policy toward the Afghan peace process.
Intra-Afghan talks in brief:
The opening ceremony for the negotiations was held on September 12, but the two sides of the talks have not yet started their direct negotiations. However, they have held seven meetings between their contact groups to discuss procedural rules for the talks.
The two sides have yet to agree on two matters: the religious basis for the talks and the relevance of the US-Taliban deal with the negotiations.
The Taliban demand recognition of the US-Taliban agreement as the 'mother deal' underlying the Afghan peace negotiations, and Hanafi Figh as the sole religious legal guidelines for the talks.
Reports say that the republic's team has suggested alternatives to the Taliban’s demands.