Khalilzad heads to Doha carrying message of ‘participatory govt’ to Taliban

US special envoy for Afghanistan peace Zalmay Khalilzad headed to Doha on Thursday where he will share details of his Kabul trip with the Taliban.

This comes after Khalilzad held a meeting with Afghan lawmakers while in Kabul, where he suggested the Constitution be amended so as to form a new government.

Some members of the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) said that according to Khalilzad, there was little hope that the Doha talks will be successful and that instead a larger summit on the future of Afghanistan is being considered.

“Mr Khalilzad, brought a message that Americans want a participatory government in Afghanistan; when I asked this question, Khalilzad said yes, I brought this message and handed over to the government leaders,” said one MP Ziauddin Zia.

According to sources, other topics discussed over the past three days on the part of Khalilzad included:

• Distrust and ineffectiveness of the Doha talks that are currently underway
• A possible meeting of the country’s political leaders and the Taliban in another country, possibly Turkey
• Contributing countries and UN to monitor such a meeting
• Amending the Constitution in order to form a new government
• The US not being in a hurry to withdraw troops by May
• Advancing the Afghan peace process wisely

Sources said Khalilzad also warned the war would continue if these issues are not agreed upon.

“A few specific statements that he [Khalilzad] pointed out are that the Qatar talks have not achieved anything in the past four months; we don’t have any hope for Doha talks, the country leader must sit in a second country and foreign countries must monitor [meeting] so they reach an agreement; amendment of constitution so the grounds are prepared for a new government,” said Kha Agha Rezaei, another MP.

Khalilzad ended his trip to Kabul after discussing various options, alternatives to propel the process forward and tweeted that the Afghan government and the Taliban must find a path to a political settlement and a permanent ceasefire.

Meanwhile, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday that the country is trying to pave the way for a political agreement between the Afghan parties.

“We haven’t made any decisions about the May 1 deadline to withdraw the remaining roughly 2,500 troops that are in Afghanistan, as well as of course partner troops, NATO forces that are there. We are in very close consultation with our NATO allies, with all of the countries in the region. and what we’re looking at very carefully is what further progress can and must be made on the agreements that, for example, we reached with the Taliban under the previous administration and the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan are working on to see if the conditions can be in place for a durable peace.

“But right now we are reviewing the question of our troop presence and we are doing it in full consultation and coordination with our allies,” Blinken said in an interview with PBS news hour.

Khalilzad will consult with Taliban leaders in Doha and hear their views, but Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Hezb-i-Islami leader, says preliminary agreements have been reached on an alternative to the Doha talks.

“Now we have to look for an alternative to these negotiations, work is underway, preliminary agreements have been reached, we agree that a new and practical foundation for peace should be laid and not limited to both sides of the war,” said Hekmatyar.

Khalilzad’s meeting with Taliban leaders and members of the government’s peace negotiating team also focuses mainly on sharing, a participatory government plan and an alternative Doha meeting.