The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad will travel to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Belgium, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar with an interagency delegation from December 2 to 20, the US Department of State said in a statement on Sunday.
Khalilzad will meet with Afghan government officials and other interested parties to support and facilitate an inclusive peace process in Afghanistan, empowering the Afghan people to decide their nation’s fate, the statement said.
“Special Representative Khalilzad will be in communication with President Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah, and other Afghan stakeholders to coordinate closely on efforts to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table with the Afghan government and other Afghans,” the statement said.
On his last trip to the region in November, Special Representative Khalilzad met with men and women active in civil society and peace efforts, members of the media, and other governmental and non-governmental officials, the statement added.
He stressed that all Afghans must have a say in creating a sustainable peace for Afghanistan. The United States remains committed to supporting the Afghan people’s desire for peace, and to facilitating a political settlement between the Afghan government and the Taliban that ensures Afghanistan never serves as a platform for international terrorism again, the statement said.
Last week, Khalilzad said that the Afghan people deserve peace and that they are at war for 40 years.
“We are in hurry to end the Afghan tragedy," Khalilzad said in an interview with US's PBS news agency.
He said the US wants a peace that is worthy of the sacrifices that have been made in the past 17 years.
“We believe that the war factions, including the Taliban, they are saying that they cannot win the war and the Afghan government says that they want a political settlement. We say that we want a political settlement. We lead the international forces that are in Afghanistan so given that, it would be a moment of opportunity," he said.
Khalilzad said that it would be good if there is an agreement with the Taliban ahead of the upcoming presidential elections.
“Ideally, of course it would be good to have an agreement with the Taliban first and then have the presidential election because then the Taliban also participate in a possible election or whatever roadmap that the Afghans agreed to,” he said.
He said that a possible delay in elections will be a decision by Afghans.
On Pakistan, Khalilzad said the US wants Afghanistan to be at peace with itself and with its neighbors.