Abdullah Abdullah, the head of High Council of National Reconciliation, in an interview with Reuters on Wednesday said he did not expect the result of the upcoming US election to dramatically change the Afghan peace process or US troop withdrawal plans.
“Nobody can say with certainty what would be the impact of the outcome of the elections in the United States but based on my experiences and interactions, the policy will not change that much,” Abdullah told Reuters.
Abdullah said that no party in the US is willing to see the sacrifices in Afghanistan go to waste.
“Neither Democrats nor Republicans would want to see all the gains or all the sacrifices they have made in Afghanistan in vain…(or) be hurt once again from Afghanistan or because of Afghanistan,” he told Reuters in an interview at the end of a three-day visit to Pakistan.
According to Abdullah, the upcoming conference in Geneva in November, at which governments will pledge financial support to bolster the peace process, would also be “one of the things in our mind” as they try to build momentum at the negotiating table.
This comes as US peace envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad arrived in Doha on Wednesday as the two Afghan negotiating teams struggle to finalize ground rules for talks.
Khalilzad in his Twitter account wrote that during his visit he will meet with partners:
“Headed back to Doha and the region to meet with partners on Afghan-owned, Afghan-led peace negotiations and prospects for increased regional connectivity, trade, and development following peace,” Khalilzad tweeted.
Khalilzad also said that the international community and Afghan people are watching and expect the teams to make progress.
“The Afghan people and international community are watching closely and expect the negotiations to make progress toward producing a roadmap for Afghanistan’s political future and a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire,” Khalilzad tweeted.
Critics have suggested that a mediator might be needed in the negotiations, as the contact groups of both sides of the Afghan peace talks have discussed the rules many times over the last 20 days but have not reached an agreement.
The procedural rules for the negotiations have over 20 articles. The two sides have agreed on 18 of them.
According to negotiators from both sides, two articles are still disputed: the foundational religious jurisprudence for the talks, and the recognition of February's US-Taliban deal as the overarching authority to which these Afghan peace negotiations are subject.
The last time the contact groups of both sides of the peace negotiations met was Monday evening. The meeting lasted for hours but could not reach an agreement on the rules and regulations, according to negotiators.