New date for intra-Afghan peace talks in discussion: Zalmay Khalilzad

WION Web Team Kabul May 16, 2020, 11.47 AM(IST)

US envoy for peace in Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Khalilzad blamed ISIS for both the attacks, contrary to Afghan officials' claim that Taliban was responsible for the attack on the hospital, which killed two children.

Speaking to media on a conference call, US Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad said a new date for the intra-Afghan peace talks is under discussion. He also assured that an inclusive Afghan government will be formed soon.

Talking about his plans to travel soon to talk about release of prisoners, he said he feels that it would be best if the intra-Afghan talks began while there is still a significant U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.

Also read: US says Islamic State conducted the attack on Kabul hospital

Under a Feb. 29 U.S.-Taliban agreement for the withdrawal of U.S. troops, the talks had to happen on March 10. However, the release of prisoners, and the uncertainty and disagreements of Afghan government's composition delayed the talk.

Afghanistan was attacked twice in the past one week. One in a Kabul hospital's maternity ward and second at a funeral. More than 50 people died in these attacks, including kids. This raised questions on the US peace effort.

Khalilzad blamed ISIS for both the attacks, contrary to Afghan officials' claim that Taliban was responsible for the attack on the hospital, which killed two children.

"There are forces such as the ISIS that doesn't see peace in Afghanistan in its interest and are trying to increase violence to undermine the prospects for peace," Khalilzad told reporters. "We are urging both sides not to fall into that trap but indeed to cooperate against terrorists including ISIS. So, we want this to happen as soon as possible when now, we're still there in a significant way."

Talking about drawdown of AMerican troops from Afghanistan, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said during a press briefing, "That is still going forward. We expect to meet that within the timeline laid out under the agreement with the Taliban."

(With inputs from Reuters)