Washington [US], October 27 (ANI/Sputnik): US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad will hold meetings with Afghan negotiating teams in Doha, Qatar, to press for cessation of hostilities in Afghanistan, the US State Department announced in a release on Monday.
"In Doha, Ambassador Khalilzad will meet with the negotiating teams to follow up on ongoing discussions to reduce violence and press both sides to immediately stem the recent increase in violence that Afghans across the country are being forced to bear," the release said. "Too many Afghans are dying. The sides urgently need an agreement on a reduction of violence leading to a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire."The State Department pointed out that Khalilzad, together with international partners, will press the two negotiating teams to boost their efforts and agree on a political roadmap to end the war in Afghanistan.
"The sides must move past procedure and into substantive negotiations," the release said. "American and international assistance remains available to all sides."In a separate statement via Twitter, Khalilzad said he returned to the region disappointed because of the failed commitments to cease violence and warned the window to achieve a political settlement "will not stay open forever.""Afghans are dying at a high rate and regional spoilers are using Afghans as cannon fodder for their illegitimate objectives. The Bloodshed must end," Khalilzad said. "Afghans need to pivot to development instead of destruction, stability instead of chaos, forgiveness instead of vengeance, compromise instead of inflexibility."According to the State Department, Khalilzad left for Oslo on October 26 where he discussed international coordination of the Afghan peace process.
The United States and the Taliban signed a peace deal on February 29 that paved the way for the beginning of intra-Afghan talks upon the conclusion of prisoners exchange.
The peace negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban began on September 12 in Doha. However, an uptick in violence has been observed in Afghanistan since the talks began. Meanwhile, both sides have publicly expressed their desire to conclude a secure and long-lasting ceasefire to end Afghanistan's long-running conflict. (ANI/Sputnik)