U.S. special envoy arrives Kabul to consult president on talks with Taliban

Vastavam web: U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad arrived in Kabul on Sunday to try to secure cooperation from Afghanistan’s president after breakthroughs in peace negotiations with Taliban leaders in Qatar. With Khalilzad and his boss U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as well Taliban officials, hailing progress towards ending America’s longest war, he must now win over President Ashraf Ghani — whose government the Taliban have so far kept out of the process.

The draft also includes assurances from the hardline Islamic group that it will not allow Afghanistan to be used by al-Qaeda and Islamic State to attack the U.S. and its allies – a core U.S. demand. Similar assurances involving other groups are given to Pakistan in the draft pact. It was not clear whether the draft described by the Taliban sources was acceptable to both sides or when it could be completed and signed. A fresh round of talks between Khalilzad and the Taliban is expected to take place on February 25 in Doha, two senior Taliban sources said.

Without going into detail on Saturday night, Khalilzad said in tweets that nothing could be agreed without an intra-Afghan dialogue and a full ceasefire. “He (Khalilzad) will inform Ghani and his officials about all the developments, seek their opinion before travelling back to Washington,” a senior Afghan official said on conditions of anonymity.