Afghanistan: why the Taliban can’t be defeated | The Economist
US calls on parties to conflict in Afghanistan to start negotiations
US Special Envoy Khalilzad warned of &# 171; pests&# 187; who may try to thwart peace efforts
US calls on belligerents in Afghanistan to start talks immediately to contain “those wishing to disrupt the peace process”.
US Special Envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad made this appeal in response to attempted assassination of a prominent woman member of the Afghan national delegation formed to negotiate with the Taliban.
“We condemn the attempt on the life of [Fawzia Kufi]. This is a cowardly and criminal act of those who are trying to drag out and disrupt [the peace process in Afghanistan], ”Khalilzad tweeted.
Afghan authorities said Fawzia Kufi, 45, a former MP and women’s rights advocate, was returning to Kabul from Parwan province on Friday when unidentified gunmen attacked her car near Kabul..
She managed to escape without being seriously injured..
No one claimed responsibility for the incident, which senior Afghan officials described as an attempted assassination attempt on Kufi.
The Taliban said they were not involved in the attack, which heightened suspicions that Islamic State militants could be behind it.
“I call on all parties that seek peace not only to condemn the attack, but also to speed up the peace process and start intra-Afghan talks as soon as possible,” Khalilzad said..
The talks in question are the result of a US-Taliban agreement reached in February.
In recent weeks in and around Kabul, there have been several high-profile attacks against religious leaders, human rights defenders and legal scholars associated with the peace process, raising fears that peace opponents are trying to disrupt negotiations.
Critics say that, despite public promises to investigate the attacks, President Ashraf Ghani’s government has yet to report any progress..
Khalilzad has repeatedly called on rival parties in Afghanistan to begin long-awaited direct talks, warning that “saboteurs” including Islamic State militants may try to thwart these peace efforts..
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), after meeting with Qatar-based Taliban leaders on Saturday, made it clear that peace talks could begin next week.
“UNAMA officials met in Doha today with representatives of the Taliban Political Commission, expressing support for the start of direct intra-Afghan talks this week. Reducing violence is necessary to improve the negotiating atmosphere, ”the mission said on Twitter.