The head of the High Peace Council (HPC) delegation, which attended last week’s Moscow meeting on Afghanistan’s peace, says Washington has given Zalmay Khalilzad, the US Special Envoy for Afghanistan’s Reconciliation, six months to broker peace in Afghanistan.
The HPC official said peace efforts by the US envoy are bringing hope for a results-oriented process.
“He has been given six months to show results to his administration and based on that we are hungry for peace and support any effort to achieve peace,” said Azizullah Din Mohammad, who headed the HPC delegation at the Moscow meeting.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, HPC officials who attended the Moscow talks said big hurdles in the way of direct peace talks with the Taliban have been removed and that Taliban’s “flexibility” for starting negotiations was a sign of hope.
“The issues which Taliban shared for starting talks did not include big issues as in the past. The issue was that we should agree to the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan,” said Attaullah Salim, deputy head of HPC.
Khalilzad is currently in the region and after visiting Kabul on Sunday flew to Pakistan. He is also scheduled to visit the UAE and Qatar before returning to Kabul.
Hours before Khalilzad arrived in Pakistan, Islamabad released two Taliban officials - Abdul Samad Sani, a US-designated terrorist who served as the Afghan Central Bank governor during the militants’ rule in the late 1990s, and a lower-ranking commander named Salahuddin.
“The release of the Taliban members can be helpful for peace in Afghanistan,” said Abdulkhabir Achqon, the HPC deputy head.
Meanwhile sources said that the Islamic National Movement of Afghanistan, also called Junbish-e-Milli, as well as Hraakat-e-Islami and Jamiat-e-Islami parties have introduced their representatives to Khalilzad for an inclusive peace negotiations team.
This came soon after Moscow said that Washington has failed in its Afghanistan mission.
“The United States is far away. Afghanistan is literally the lower part of Russia’s abdomen. National interests as well as security of the Russian Federation and our allies are at stake here. That’s why we can’t stare blankly at how it’s being done (in Afghanistan).”
The head of the HPC delegation said that Taliban had admitted that they have had talks with the Americans which were not made public.
This comes as the Afghan government and the High Peace Council called on countries in the region and the world’s powers to put aside their rivalry in Afghanistan’s peace process and help end the violence and war in the country.