Taliban will become a pariah if they takeover Afghanistan by force: Zalmay Khalilzad

New Delhi: The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, has said that if the Taliban take over the country by force, they will not win international recognition and “they will become a pariah state”.

Speaking to VOA, Khalilzad said the United States remains committed to promoting a political settlement between warring Afghans, stressing that neither side to the conflict can win militarily.

As per media reports, according to him, the US-Taliban agreement, signed in Doha in February last year, provided the opportunity for Afghans to sit across the table — “a historic development” — to reach an agreement to agree on a formula that would have broad support in Afghanistan and international support as well.

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“Unfortunately, the two sides have not taken advantage of that opportunity as quickly as we would have liked, as the Afghan people would have liked,” he said.

He reiterated that there is no military solution to the war and that there must be a “political solution, a political agreement for a lasting peace”.

He said in the US’ opinion, the Afghan government cannot get rid of the Taliban, “and the Taliban cannot conquer Afghanistan and have a government that has the support of the overwhelming majority of the Afghans and international support”.

He said while the Taliban tells the US they know there is no military solution, “may be some Taliban think there is a military solution to the conflict”.

Khalilzad said, “The wise thing is for both sides to engage seriously and quickly, urgently to respond to the wishes of the people of Afghanistan for a political agreement.”

He pointed out that history has shown, over the past 45 to 50 years, that attempts by one party to impose its will on the people only leads to war.

On Pakistan and its relations with the Taliban, he said: “Pakistan has a special role and responsibility, given also that many Taliban leaders are in Pakistan, located there, to do what it can to encourage peace and a political settlement as soon as possible, for it will be judged internationally also as to whether it has done all that it can or it could to promote a political settlement.”

He said peace in Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s interest and that many Pakistani leaders have acknowledged this.

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