The Afghan peace process “must be fully Afghan-owned and Afghan-led,” former President Hamid Karzai said at the 8th World Peace Forum in China on Tuesday, according to Xinhua report.
“Progress is there between the United States and the Taliban, and hopefully, it is one that will ensure lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan,” Karzai said.
The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad concluded the seventh round of talks with the Taliban negotiators on July 9 in Qatar. He was cited by reports as saying that the Afghans are closer to reaching peace than any time in the past.
Khalilzad said on July 8 that he had “lots of progress” on four key issues under debate in the negotiations.
The four issues which have been discussed by the US and the Taliban negotiators in the seven rounds of talks are counterterrorism assurances, troop withdrawal, a ceasefire and intra-Afghan talks.
Karzai lauded efforts made to push for national reconciliation and bring about peace in Afghanistan, such as the two-day intra-Afghan dialogue opened on Sunday in Qatar's capital Doha with the presence of a 17-member negotiating team from the Taliban.
“There is already some format of negotiations going on (between the Taliban and the government). Of course, what's needed is eventually, and hopefully as soon as possible, talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban to start,” Karzai said. “That is the only way forward.”
Karzai noted that as the US prepares to exit Afghanistan, “we seek a solution in a manner that will allow the Taliban to be part of the Afghan political system”.
“So it will be a settlement rather than a takeover. It should be the Taliban re-entry the Afghan politics with all the Afghans, and that is what we should be making sure,” he said.
The eighth World Peace Forum, held on July 8-9 in Beijing and organized by Tsinghua University in partnership with the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs, is a non-governmental seminar focusing on international security topics.