US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad has said unfounded charges of violations and inflammatory rhetoric would not advance the peace process.
President Donald Trump’s point-man tweeted: “We should pursue strict adherence to all articles of the US-Taliban agreement and US-Afghanistan Joint Declaration and not neglect the commitment to gradually reduce violence.
Continued high levels of violence could threaten the peace process and the agreement and the core understanding that there was no military solution, he said, adding: “Violence today remains distressingly high despite the recent reaffirmation of the need for a substantial reduction.”
Taliban attacks in Helmand, assault on the Afghan security forces, the rebel group’s complaints of ANSF operations, and coalition strikes led to a recent meeting in Doha.”
All sides agreed to decrease attacks and strikes and reduce violence and casualties, the diplomat said. Although violence in Helmand has decreased, the overall security situation in the country remained fragile.
Their expectation had been and remained that violence should come down and stayed down, Ambassador Khalilzad wrote.
Violence had stalked Afghans for far too long, he regretted, saying it had robbed far too many Afghans of their loved ones. The tragedy in Ghor was the most recent example, he noted.
“The belief that says violence must escalate to win concessions at the negotiating table is very risky. Such an approach can undermine the peace process and repeats past miscalculations by Afghan leaders.”
Khalilzad stressed: “We must adhere to the letter and spirit of what was negotiated and the recent understanding. They provide a path to minimizing Afghan loss of life and protecting a historic opportunity for peace which must not be missed.”