Peace talks with Taliban soon: US | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 18, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, January 18, 2019

Peace talks with Taliban soon: US

Afghan leader thanks Pak PM for help with talks

The US special envoy for peace in Afghanistan on Wednesday said talks with the Taliban will "happen very soon" but if the insurgents continue to fight then American forces would support Afghan forces in the war.

Talks between the Taliban and American officials have hit a roadblock after the hardline Islamic militants cancelled the fourth round of peace talks last week and rejected the involvement of the Afghan government in the dialogue.

On Tuesday, the Taliban threatened to pull out of the peace process with the United States if they diverted from the issue of foreign force withdrawal from Afghanistan, a key demand of the insurgents to end the 17-year war.

The Taliban's warning came hours after Zalmay Khalilzad landed in Afghanistan after meeting officials from India, China and the United Arab Emirates to discuss the peace process.

"If the Taliban want to talk, we can talk. If they want to fight, we can fight," Khalilzad told journalists in Kabul.

Khalilzad also said: "We are hopeful it will happen very soon. That's what we're working towards."

Meanwhile, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani thanked Pakistan yesterday for its help in pushing forward peace talks with the Taliban.

Ghani called Prime Minister Imran Khan and "expressed his gratitude for Pakistan's sincere facilitation of these efforts", according to a statement from the Pakistan government spokesman's office.

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