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Election Planning Must Go Forward: Khalilzad

The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad on Saturday reacted to a number of "comments" on priorities of the United States in Afghanistan. 

Khalilzad said in a tweet that in recent days, a few commentators have raised questions about the US's priorities in Afghanistan. 

"A peace process that delivers a political settlement is the priority," Khalilzad clarified. 

He added that Afghans want peace above all but wanting peace does not preclude them from demanding preparations for a credible presidential election. 

"Election planning must go forward as we pursue the peace Afghans deserve," he said. 

Eighteen presidential candidates are running in the upcoming elections scheduled for September 28. 

Khalilzad wrapped up his sixth round of talks with the Taliban in Doha last month where he made "steady but slow" progress on key issues under debate.   

Faramarz Tamanna, a presidential candidate, said the Afghan peace process and presidential elections should be moved forward at the same time and that one of the processes should not stop the other. 

“We need both peace and elections,” he said.

A former Taliban member Sayed Akbar Agha said achieving peace will be difficult if the election is held and a new government comes to power.

“If elections are held and (President Ashraf) Ghani once again becomes president, we will not achieve peace in another five years and if someone else becomes the next president we will not achieve peace in the next 10 years,” Akbar Agha said.

Meanwhile, Acting Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani on Friday met with Mutlaq al-Qahtani, the Special Envoy of Qatar Foreign Minister, and discussed Afghan peace and anti-terror efforts. 

“The Acting Foreign Minister in his meeting with Qatar Foreign Minister Special Envoy for Reconciliation and Counterterrorism discussed issues around regional cooperation, Afghan-owned peace process and bilateral ties,” said Sibghatullah Ahmadi, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Afghanistan

Election Planning Must Go Forward: Khalilzad

Khalilzad says a peace process that delivers a political settlement is the priority of the US.

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The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad on Saturday reacted to a number of "comments" on priorities of the United States in Afghanistan. 

Khalilzad said in a tweet that in recent days, a few commentators have raised questions about the US's priorities in Afghanistan. 

"A peace process that delivers a political settlement is the priority," Khalilzad clarified. 

He added that Afghans want peace above all but wanting peace does not preclude them from demanding preparations for a credible presidential election. 

"Election planning must go forward as we pursue the peace Afghans deserve," he said. 

Eighteen presidential candidates are running in the upcoming elections scheduled for September 28. 

Khalilzad wrapped up his sixth round of talks with the Taliban in Doha last month where he made "steady but slow" progress on key issues under debate.   

Faramarz Tamanna, a presidential candidate, said the Afghan peace process and presidential elections should be moved forward at the same time and that one of the processes should not stop the other. 

“We need both peace and elections,” he said.

A former Taliban member Sayed Akbar Agha said achieving peace will be difficult if the election is held and a new government comes to power.

“If elections are held and (President Ashraf) Ghani once again becomes president, we will not achieve peace in another five years and if someone else becomes the next president we will not achieve peace in the next 10 years,” Akbar Agha said.

Meanwhile, Acting Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani on Friday met with Mutlaq al-Qahtani, the Special Envoy of Qatar Foreign Minister, and discussed Afghan peace and anti-terror efforts. 

“The Acting Foreign Minister in his meeting with Qatar Foreign Minister Special Envoy for Reconciliation and Counterterrorism discussed issues around regional cooperation, Afghan-owned peace process and bilateral ties,” said Sibghatullah Ahmadi, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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