Speaking with American PBS news agency, Khalilzad emphasized that all war factions in Afghanistan including the Taliban insurgent group, the Afghan government, and the United States of America are seeking a political settlement.
Khalilzad reiterated that it would be good if there is an agreement with the Taliban before the upcoming presidential elections.
“Ideally, of course it would be good to have an agreement with the Taliban first, and then have the presidential election, because then the Talibs will also participate in a possible election, or whatever roadmap that the Afghans agreed to,” he said.
Regarding the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan, which is a key condition for the Taliban insurgent group to start peace negotiations, Khalilzad said that we want to be satisfied that Afghanistan will never become a platform to threaten us.
“Staying in Afghanistan militarily is not an end in itself for us. Our objective has been the preclusion of use of Afghan territory by terrorists against us. So if we can be satisfied that we can handle the terrorist threat with less force – Ultimately, of course, we want an Afghanistan that is sovereign, self-reliant, with no foreign forces on it,” he added.
On Wednesday, President Ashraf Ghani announced a 12-member negotiating team for talks with the Taliban as a part of efforts to end the 17-years of war in the country.
But in reaction, Taliban in a statement said the group is negotiating with the United States, adding that Taliban considers talking to Kabul government as “a waste of time”.