The United States Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad says that the achievements made in the past one and half decade should be defended, and these gains should be used as a cornerstone and foundation for more progresses in peace process as well for further developments in a post-peace government.
In a video message to a number of Afghan youths who held a discussion in the US embassy in Kabul on Tuesday over the youths’ roles in the peace process and their priorities, Khalilzad said that now the time has come to end the Afghan war and build on the achievements.
“Now it is the time that this war should end. Now it is the time to defend and preserve the gains and use them as foundation for further progress in peace and after peace in Afghanistan,” Khalilzad said.
The US envoy added that he has been tasked by the United States to support Afghans in ending the ongoing war and making sure that the world will not be threatened from Afghanistan territory.
Khalilzad said he and his team has started negotiations with the Afghan government, Taliban and some other groups for reaching a peace deal to achieve these two major goals.
According to Khalilzad, steady steps have been taken in troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and counterterrorism assurances but insisted that much has not been done for intra-Afghan dialogue and ending war in Afghanistan.
“Required steps for intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations between the Afghans for ending the war in Afghanistan have not been taken,” Khalilzad said.
Khalilzad also explained that considerable progresses have not been made in ending the war and reaching an agreement for a permanent ceasefire adding that reaching a deal on all these issues will takes time.
Once again Khalilzad stressed that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” adding that a peace deal is possible only when the parties agree on all the issues related to peace.
Khalilzad urged the Afghan youths to take part in bringing peace and supporting peace efforts.
On Tuesday, the US Embassy Charge d’Affairs Karen Decker hosted more than 120 Afghan youth leaders from government, civil society, private sectors and universities for an open forum discussion on youths’ place in the peace process.
Decker, meanwhile, labeled the Afghan youth as the most important constituency of Afghanistan adding that least 63 percent of the country’s populations are under 25.
USAID Mission Director Peter Natiello also addressing the group said US is committed to developing Afghanistan.
“USAID remains committed and invested in Afghanistan. USAID’s recently released five-year strategy lays out a plan to support Afghanistan toward self-reliance with continued investments in education, health, private sector led economic growth, agriculture, democracy and governance, and women’s empowerment,” he said.
US Ambassador John Bass also in a video messaged to the Afghan youth urged them to engage in the Afghan peace process and highlight their desired future and wishes.
“Everyone can be part of the national conversation that informs the dialogue on peace, so you can have confidence that the people talking about your rights, your hopes, and your future, know what is important to you,” he said.
One of the worries over the ongoing peace talks between the US and Taliban is that the past achievements might be stepped on, but Khalilzad repeatedly have stressed that the US is committed to preserve the gains and help the Afghans to build upon them.