The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, on Sunday met with President Ashraf Ghani and discussed the latest developments in the Afghan peace process, including the reduction in violence and “next steps,” according to presidential spokesman Sediq Sediqqi.
This was Khalilzad’s second meeting with Ghani after the latter’s presidential inauguration on March 9. Khalilzad has had five meetings with Abdullah Abdullah at the same time, according to Abdullah’s aides, who said practical work for the establishment of an “inclusive government” will begin if Khalilzad’s efforts do not yield a result.
According to the Presidential Palace, former president Hamid Karzai and Sayyaf have also met with Ghani.
Afghan politicians, including Karzai, former mujahideen leader Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf and Hizb-e-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar have also held meetings with Abdullah Abdullah over the last week to discuss the political situation in the country, according to statements by their offices.
“Everyone believes that the government represents the people of Afghanistan--it should represent politicians and all levels of Afghans,” presidential advisor Waheed Omer said.
Abdullah’s aides said politicians are trying to end the rift between Ghani and Abdullah for the sake of the nation’s wellbeing.
“We hope that there is a solution to the problem. If it ends up that the institutions are under the control of one side, and the country is under the control of another side, this will complicate the issue,” said Fazal Ahmad Manawi, a close aide to Abdullah.
An Afghan politician, Sayed Ishaq Gailani, who heads the National Solidarity Movement of Afghanistan and has met with Khalilzad, said political parties and movements have not accepted a proposed list of the negotiating team of 15 members that was passed around on Saturday.
“Actually, Mr. Khalilzad gave the list to some individuals, not the government,” Gailani said, adding: “We were surprised that the list was distributed by Mr. Khalilzad.”