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Khalilzad defends peace in Afghanistan amid growing violence | Conflicting Issues

The US special envoy to the Taliban, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, said he believed peace was still possible in Afghanistan such as the US has begun to unleash his remaining army and there is more strife in the land.

Khalilzad testified in Congress on Tuesday, the same day that the U.S. State advised U.S. citizens “wanting to leave Afghanistan to leave immediately” and ordered unnecessary U.S. personnel to leave the country, saying “going to all parts of Afghanistan is unsafe.”

The minister said keeping U.S. troops in Afghanistan was unreasonable, as the conflict could not be resolved by fighting.

“The decision that the people of Afghanistan need to be in the middle of political negotiations or a long war,” Khalilzad told U.S. lawmakers at Congress.

“The same opportunity is running for them and it is for them,” Khalilzad said in his first public statement since President Joe Biden announced the election. eliminating all US military forces by September 11, the 20th anniversary of Al Qaeda-led New York and Washington led to the US occupation by Afghanistan.

The US has about 3,500 troops in Afghanistan along with 7,000 NATO troops and about 16,000 contractors. Khalilzad said the agreement he signed with the Taliban last year also included an agreement to remove US contractors who are assisting Afghan troops immediately following the departure of US troops. Khalilzad said the US is helping the Kabul government find contractors instead of those leaving the United States.

Biden has pledged to continue US financial assistance to the government in Kabul with its troops and police – he says about 300,000 but the number is believed to be low.

Khalilzad said the terrorist threats that led to the 2001 terrorist attacks had occurred now they have moved to other areas.

Khalilzad led an 18-month negotiation between the US and the Taliban in 2018-19 that brought about an agreement. He is expected to re-establish direct talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government aimed at stabilizing peace, but nothing has come out after a year of repeated talks.

A peace conference in Afghanistan scheduled to take place in Turkey this month has been suspended for non-participation in the Taliban. Foreign ministers in Turkey, Pakistan and Afghanistan on Friday urged the Taliban to reaffirm their commitment to the talks and end violence.

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) talks about Afghan women, including seven photographers killed in Afghanistan, in an interview with Zalmay Khalilzad [Susan Walsh/Pool via Reuters]

Senior Congress officials have expressed differing views on Biden’s announcement and Senate officials said Tuesday they were concerned that Biden was hastily leaving the US.

Senator Bob Menendez, a Democrat who has been critical of Biden’s handling of the election.

“If the Taliban were to come back, the real power of Afghan women and girls, I think, would be painful,” Menendez said.

During his rule in Afghanistan from 1996-2001 the Taliban banned the education of girls and in particular banned women from work and public life.

Khalilzad said any future aid from Taliban allies would be acceptable. “If they want US aid, they want to be recognized around the world … these things will be affected by the way they treat their citizens, especially Afghan women, children and minorities,” he told the film.

Senator Jim Risch, the Republican prime minister, said US troops should continue with the only US-based defense in Afghanistan.

Afghan warrior patrol station outside Kabul, Afghanistan April 21, 2021 [Mohammad Ismail, Reuters]

“I am very concerned with the rush for those leaving Afghanistan,” Risch said.

“I believe I am wrong, but I am concerned about the opinion of the supervisors it may cause frustration for the Taliban to overthrow the government, ”he said.

“I do not believe the government will collapse or the Taliban will take over,” Khalilzad said.

Biden says leaving does not mean copying what is happening in Afghanistan.

The 2019 treaty Khalilzad signed with the Taliban said the group would end any alliance with Al Qaeda, with the United Nations saying the two parties were very close – which the Taliban reject.

The agreement also said that all foreign troops, including US troops and contractors, would leave Afghanistan by May 1 if the Taliban had fulfilled their role. On April 14 Biden extended the deadline until September.

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