Ghani and Khalilzad meet to discuss next phase in peace process

President Ashraf Ghani met with US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad on Monday, the Presidential Palace (ARG) said in a statement adding that both sides discussed the next steps in the peace process and emphasized the importance of expediting efforts.

Khalilzad pledged that the US will play an effective role in ensuring peace in Afghanistan, ARG said.

This comes after Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah met with Khalilzad in Kabul on Monday morning to discuss the Afghan peace process.

After their meeting, Abdullah tweeted: “As always pleased to meet HE Zalmay Khalilzad
and his accompanying delegation.

“We discussed the peace process, talks in Doha, the US current review, and the steps forward.

“We reiterated our call for an immediate end to violence and the acceleration of the peace talks,” he said.

Khalilzad’s trip to the region marks the restart of peace negotiations with the Taliban for the US under the Biden administration.

The US State Department said in a statement: “(Khalilzad) will resume discussions on the way ahead with the Islamic Republic and Afghan leaders, Taliban representatives, and regional countries whose interests are best served by the achievement of a just and durable political settlement and permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.”

Reports also indicated that Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of Hizb-e-Islami, on Monday talked with US Khalilzad.

“In a virtual conference they discussed Afghan peace process and the way out of the current stalemate,” the reports stated.