US credits Qatar, Pakistan and Khalilzad for Doha talks breakthrough

The US Chargé d’Affaires Ross Wilson on Sunday attributed the breakthrough in Doha peace talks to the role played in helping to achieve this by Qatar, Pakistan and Zalmay Khalilzad, Washington’s peace envoy to Afghanistan.

Wilson also said that in accordance with the US and Taliban agreement signed in February, release of another 7,000 Taliban prisoners would be conditional – based on progress made by the Taliban in line with the Doha deal.

Regarding a political settlement, which is the hoped for outcome of the peace talks, Wilson said any agreement, including that of sharing power with the Taliban, would be decided on by the Afghan Republic’s talks team and the Taliban – and not the US.

“It is my clear understanding that the authorities in Qatar played an extremely important role in helping to bring” progress as did officials from many other countries, including Pakistan, other allied countries and other neighbors, Wilson said.

He also stated that the future government belongs to the Afghans themselves, but that the United States wants a government in which past achievements are preserved and democracy and the will of the people are respected.

According to Wilson, although the Taliban want the release of another 7,000 prisoners, he says their release is viewed by the US as conditions-based.

“From our point of view it is not an obligation, it is all undertaken first of all and it indicates that it is not something that just exists in a vacuum; it relates to progress in every aspect of the US-Taliban agreement, including the counterterrorism mission, the al-Qaeda related issues that we mentioned earlier, including the problem of violence, including progress in these negotiations,” Wilson added.

Five thousand Taliban prisoners have already been released under the US-Taliban agreement – a move that led to the start of the intra-Afghan negotiations. Now, however, the group is demanding the release of a further 7,000 prisoners.