US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad meet with Former Jihadi leader Abdul Rab Rasoul Sayyaf in his residence on Monday.
Productive discussion with Professor Sayyaf this morning (Monday morning), Khalilzad tweeted.
“We agree that a national, inclusive, and unified Afghan negotiating team is urgent and necessary,” Khalilzad said in his twitter.
Khalilzad in an exclusive interview with TOLOnews on Monday, said the integration of a strong and unified negotiating team under Afghan government’s umbrella is needed for achieving a breakthrough in the strides for peace in Afghanistan, but rejected rumors that the talks had hit a deadlock.
“There are difficulties, but we have agreed with the Taliban to meet again on the 25th of February in Doha. We agreed in principle to talk in details and with more authenticity about two topics to find whether there is the possibility to make more progress on the issue of terrorism and the issue of forces,” Khalilzad said.
“But I want to reassure the people of Afghanistan that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. The two points that you mentioned are largely related to the Afghans. The first issue is that when the ceasefire will be announced, I want a broad-based ceasefire to be announced as soon as possible. Secondly, there is a need for discussions and consultations among Afghans including the [Afghan] government to start soon.”
This comes a week after President Ashraf Ghani called for a grand consultative Jirga, a traditional assembly, on the peace process in the country. Ghani said the Jirga will be convened within a month.
The US envoy said his message to the Afghan government and Afghan elders is that “the time has reached that they sit together and agree on a team” in order to prevent a repeat of another Moscow talks.