USA envoy Khalilzad heads 6-nation tour for ‘intra-Afghan talks

Afghan MP I'm very worried for women's rights

The itinerary will take the USA delegation to Belgium, Germany, Turkey, Qatar, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the statement said, adding that Khalilzad would "consult with the Afghan government throughout the trip". He said the U.S.is not seeking permanent military bases in Afghanistan and will leave if Kabul does not want US troops there, provided that there is no threat to USA national security from Afghanistan, particularly from terrorist groups.

The former US ambassador to Kabul also called for direct talks to begin as soon as possible between the Taliban and the Afghan government, which thus far has not been involved in Khalilzad's talks.

The emphasis on bringing "all Afghan parties together" appeared crucial.

"Our demand about having an official political office is clear, we want that our office in Doha is recognized by the global community and the United Nations", Shahin said.

If the Taliban were hold talks with the Kabul government, it would mean that it had "accepted this stooge regime as a legitimate government (even though it was) imposed upon us by air craft and (the) bombing of invaders", he said.

At an event in Washington on February 8, Khalilzad told an audience that he expected a final deal could be reached before Afghanistan's presidential election in July. But Khalilzad emphasized that any troop withdrawal would depend on conditions on the ground.

When asked about Pakistan's role in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table, Mr. Mujahid said: "There is no role being played by any outside country".

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In the letter, the United States had sought PM Imran's full support to advance Afghan peace process.

Afghan officials were treated to a surprise visit by the acting US Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan, who arrived unannounced, apparently to discuss peace talks and the prospects for American military presence in the region.

He reinforced USA support for the Kabul government before touching down in the Afghan capital.

The Trump administration's special envoy for Afghanistan is returning to the country after stops in Europe and the Middle East for an extended diplomatic tour aimed at pushing a USA peace initiative.

Shanahan will meet President Ashraf Ghani, whose government was not part of major talks between USA and Taliban officials last month that negotiators hope could bring a breakthrough in the grinding 17-year conflict.

Shanahan will meet General Scott Miller, the top U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation commander in Afghanistan, during his visit.

"If the Taliban want an office, I will give it to them in Kabul, Nangarhar or Kandahar by tomorrow", Ghani said while visiting the province of Nangarhar, a hotbed of insurgent violence on the border with Pakistan.

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