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Khalilzad Briefs US Congress Behind Closed Doors

(Last Updated On: May 23, 2019)

The U.S. Special Envoy for Afghan Peace Zalmay Khalilzad on Wednesday briefed U.S. Congress about the latest direct talks between the U.S. and Taliban negotiators in Doha, the capital of Qatar, aimed at ending the 17-year war.

The talks were held behind closed doors, but U.S. Senator Jim Risch has told that he believes Khalilzad is making progress. However, he added that it is a difficult situation to get to the finish line.

Bob Menendez, another U.S. Senator has told that there is a deep conflict between the intelligence community’s views and Khalilzad’s optimism regarding the Afghanistan reconciliation process.

Meanwhile, Michael Rubin, an American scholar who has assessed the U.S. President peace plan for Afghanistan suggests that the Trump administration’s Afghanistan strategy repeats mistakes made by the Clinton and Obama administrations.

According to Mr. Rubin, the Taliban has repeatedly failed to keep diplomatic commitments and treating the Taliban as independent from Pakistani command-and-control will undercut the utility of any peace deal struck with the Taliban.

Speaking at an event at the Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies (AISS) on Thursday, Waheed Muzhda, an Afghan political analyst said that Taliban engaged in direct talks with the U.S. as the winner of the war while the U.S. team entered into the talks as the loser.

At the same event, Humaira Rahbin, Women’s Rights Activist said there is no guarantee that the Taliban will stay committed to their commitments if the U.S. troops leave Afghanistan.

Ambassador Khalilzad has held six round of direct talks with the Taliban so far. The two sides have agreed on the withdrawal of American troops in exchange for guarantees that Afghanistan will not be used again as a shelter for terrorists to threaten the U.S. and its allies.

The insurgent group has so far refused to set with the Afghan government, calling it a puppet regime of American invaders.

However, Khalilzad has said that all talks would take place in accordance with the principle that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”

By: Hesamuddin Hesam

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