Afghanistan peace deal depends on Taliban ceasefire: U.S. envoy

Afghanistan peace deal depends on Taliban ceasefire: U.S. envoy

A loya jirga is aimed at building consensus among various ethnic groups and tribal factions and is traditionally convened under extraordinary circumstances. Both Pakistan and the United States have condemned the recent attacks by the Taliban inside Afghanistan, saying the conflict would not help anyone.

The United States troops withdrawal from war-torn Afghanistan will be completely done after reaching a peace agreement, special representative for Afghan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad has on Sunday said.

But the Taliban have refused to talk to Ghani's government, denouncing it as foreign "puppet", and intense fighting is going on in various parts of the country, with the Taliban controlling and influencing more territory than at any point since 2001.

To this, Khalilzad said recently, "The Taliban say "a ceasefire is not part of the agenda".

In an interview with Afghanistan's largest private television station, Tolo News, Khalilzad said the Taliban's demands were focused on the withdrawal of USA forces from the country. "The so-called offensives are condemnable and will undermine the peace process".

Prime Minister Khan stated that Pakistan was dismayed by the surge of violence in Afghanistan from all sides.

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Over the weekend, Khalilzad tweeted his approval of Khan's statement.

The statement also said the Taliban have agreed to fight Islamic State militants in Afghanistan and sever ties with al-Qaida, the Eastern Turkestan Islamic Movement and other militant groups.

Khalilzad recently met with representatives of China and Russian Federation, saying there is an "emerging global consensus on the USA approach to end the war and assurances terrorism never again emanates from Afghanistan". The Taliban had called on Afghans to boycott the summit as well.

Briefing the media during Zalmay's last visit to India, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, in January had said, "whether Pakistan's role was discussed, you know there is something which I have articulated time and again about the destabilizing role, in a way, which Pakistan plays". However, attendees of the Jirga are people from all spheres of the Afghan community, therefore, the resolution at the end of three-day Jirga would by large be a coherent demand of Afghan society regarding their future.

Hajji Sher Aga, who owns a gas station near Kabul, complained about the lack of security and lawlessness.

"He wants to prove that he has the ability to secure a peace deal and also enjoys the support of Afghans", said one diplomat.

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