US chief negotiator urges Afghanistan leaders to begin intra-Afghan negotiations

Zalmay Khalilzad, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, met with the government leaders and urged them tobegin the much-awaited intra-Afghan negotiations.

There were some serious disagreements reported between President Ashraf Ghani and Khalilzad over some items mentioned in the draft agreement which according to the US envoy is closed.

The agreement needs the approval of President Trump to be signedbetween the two sides.

President Ghani has pushed a leadership role for the Afghan government to avoid negligence in the negotiation process.

Four meetings have been held between President Ghani and Khalilzad over the past three days.

Khalilzad has asked President Ghani to get ready for intra-Afghan negotiations at least one week ahead of the presidential election scheduled for 28 September, said the sources. The US envoy has also given assurance to support the Afghan security forces.

“Many meetings was held last time when Mr. Khalilzad was here. The delegation has been formed and now it is handed to the president through Khalilzad. Let’s see if Mr. President doesn’t manipulate it. If it is manipulated, it will be damaged,” said Mohammad Mohaqiq, leader of Hizb-e-Wahdat-e-Islami party.

He added: “This team is authorized. There are veteran leaders of Afghanistan in it. They have sufficient experience and there is no need for training.”

Khalilzad also criticized the Afghan government for not finalizing the negotiating team which is expected to enter into direct talks with the Taliban.

The draft framework agreement between the US and the Taliban does not address the issue of terror hideouts and training camps in Pakistan. Also, there is nothing mention about the relations between Pakistan and the Taliban have not been clarified, according to a report of Tolo News.

However, the Pakistani Army Chief General Qamar Jawed Bajwa is expected to visit Kabul shortly, to attract more support from Pakistan in the Afghan peace process.

Recently, President Ghani’s spokesman Sediq Sediqqi tweeted that the Afghan government wants clarification on the document to study its consequences and “prevent its risks”.

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