Ghani, Khalilzad discuss spike in violence at high-level Doha meeting

Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and US commander of Resolute Support General Scott Miller met in Doha to discuss the latest developments on the Afghan peace process and also the serious escalation in violence currently gripping the country.

In a series of tweets early Tuesday morning, Khalilzad said both he and Miller “affirmed ongoing US support to Afghanistan, our partnership, and a peace process meant to produce a political settlement and an end to decades of war.”

“I told the President Afghans should not let the opportunity for peace to slip away. He said he supports the Islamic Republic negotiators doing their work [for] as long as it takes.”

Khalilzad in turn said he was encouraged by what he had heard from both sides, “including the two teams’ commitment to peace.”

He said the US remains ready to assist and called on all nations, “especially the neighbors and other key players, to do the same.”

On the issue of violence, which has seen a marked increase in the past few months – especially that of target assassinations and attempted assassinations, Khalilzad said: “Violence is too high, and too many Afghans are dying.

“We are pressing for a significant reduction in violence that will lead to a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.”

He said a significant reduction in violence will save lives; increase trust; broaden support for peace; and help the negotiating teams make progress at a faster pace.

“This is what the Afghan people want. And the United States stands with them,” he said.

A high-level delegation of Afghan officials were also in attendance as were foreign representatives, including a representative from the US National Security Council and the US Department of Defense.