Jaishankar, Khalilzad discuss Afghan peace process

New Delhi [India]: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday held discussions with United States peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad here on the recent developments pertaining to the ongoing peace efforts in Afghanistan.
The two sides discussed how India and the US could work effectively to ensure lasting peace in Afghanistan that has been engulfed in an 18-year-long war.

“Useful discussions with US Special Representative @US4AfghanPeace Zalmay Khalilzad. Provided a comprehensive update on the situation in Afghanistan. Shared views on how we could work together effectively,” Jaishankar wrote on Twitter.

Khalilzad’s visit to India has come as part of his efforts to build international consensus on the Afghan peace process following the recent round of talks between the Taliban and the US in Qatar’s capital city of Doha. The US peace envoy had said on Monday that “excellent progress” was made during the talks.

“Building on excellent progress in Kabul last week, I’ve spent the last few days in Doha, focused on the remaining issues in completing a potential deal with the Taliban that would allow for a conditions-based troop withdrawal. We have made excellent progress,” he tweeted.

The talks were centred around US’ promise to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, in exchange for the guarantee by the former that the Afghan soil, particularly the areas under the Taliban’s control, would not become a platform for transnational terrorism.

In addition, efforts are underway to organise a direct meeting between Khalilzad and Taliban co-founder Mullah Baradar, Xinhua news agency quoted Taliban sources as saying.

The Taliban, have so far consistently refused to hold direct talks with President Ashraf Ghani’s government, denouncing it as a puppet administration. Understandably, once the agreement between the US and the Taliban is inked, it will require the latter to immediately enter into negotiations with Afghan stakeholders.

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