The National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib on Wednesday met US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad where they discussed “developments in the peace process” over the past few months as the US special envoy has started efforts to facilitate direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
Khalilzad arrived in Kabul on Tuesday for the third time in less than four months. His third multi-nation trip on Afghan peace was started on January 8 and will continue through to Jan. 21, the US Department of State has said.
The National Security Advisor’s Office said in a statement that a regional consensus on peace and coordination between the two sides were also discussed in this meeting.
“There is a full consensus in Afghanistan regarding peace,” Mohib said in the meeting, adding that “the capacity and ability of Afghan National Defense and Security Forces in safeguarding the values and national interests of the country have been proved”.
Meanwhile, Khalilzad assured the Afghan people and the Afghan government that the people and government of the United States are standing by Afghans in peace efforts and that the efforts will continue, the statement said.
Acting Defense Minister Asadullah Khalid, Acting Interior Minister Amrullah Saleh and Gen. Scott Miller, Commander of US and NATO Forces in Afghanistan also participated in the meeting.
Mohib returned to Kabul from a regional tour on Afghan peace on Tuesday.
“Concluded my regional trip with a trip to #Saudi. Engaging our regional partners in a holistic spectrum of cooperation to accelerate the quest for the ultimate goal of lasting peace in Afghanistan which I believe is intimately linked to reinforcing long term regional stability,” he tweeted on Tuesday.
On Jan. 15, Khalilzad met President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and “a diverse set of Afghan leaders” on Tuesday evening.
“We discussed the peace process & all agree that progress depends on Afghans sitting with each other, negotiating a future for all Afghan people,” Khalilzad tweeted.
This comes after Taliban in a statement on Jan. 15 said the United States is not discussing troop withdrawal with the group and that the US is bringing “new issues” in talks agenda.
Taliban warned that “they will have to suspend the peace talks if the situation prevails”.
Taliban criticized “tactical pressure” by the US on the group through other countries and says that the address for talks with the Taliban is their political office in Qatar.