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Khalilzad hopeful about Doha talks, admits challenges

Khalilzad hopeful about Doha talks, admits challenges

US Special Representative for Aghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said he was hopeful about the Doha talks between representatives of the Kabul government and Taliban, but acknowledged that there were challenges ahead.

He made the remarks while addressing a virtual event hosted by the US Institute of Peace (USIP) on Thursday, reports TOLO News.

The Afghan peace negotiations that began in Doha on September 12 are a "historic opportunity" that could end four decades of conflict in the country and end America's longest war, said Khalilzad.

The talks are the "heart of the Afghan peace process", and "it's important to be fully aware of the significance of this moment, and to recognize its historic relevance".

Khalilzad also said that for peace to work in Afghanistan, it also has to have broad regional and international support.

To this end, "we have focused in parallel both on the Afghans and on the international community…to achieve peace".

Peace and stability are the preconditions to significant economic growth and international investment in Afghanistan, he said, adding that "economic growth and investment, in turn, are essential to preserving the deepening peace, security and social development".

Khalilzad said that the US believes that a stable Afghanistan at peace at home and with its neighbours is not just an Afghan priority, but in the interest of the US, the region, and the international community.

Asked about the current increase of violence in the country, he said: "We know that a reduction in violence is possible," TOLO News reported.

At the same time, he acknowledged that the Taliban see violence as a key leverage point in the negotiations and are thus unlikely to agree to a comprehensive ceasefire early in the process..