Khalilzad Says Now Is ‘Defining Moment’ for Afghan Peace

Predicts intra-Afghan talks will begin very soon

US envoy Zelmay Khalilzad declared now to be a “defining moment” for peace in Afghanistan, some five months after the US signed a peace deal with the Taliban. Intra-Afghan talks had been on hold over prisoner releases, but now he says they are very close to beginning.

That seems to be the case, with prisoner releases finally done, and other than internal violence, the two sides do seem like they could have direct negotiations soon. This is meant to work out the power-sharing after US forces leave.

To that end, Khalilzad downplayed the US pullout, saying it remains “conditions-based.” Signs are that the US is going to have troops out by November, and only a few thousand are even left. The Pentagon prefers not to draw attention to this.

Khalilzad noted violence in down substantially year over year in Afghanistan, and urged support from other Central Asian states for the internal talks, saying a peaceful Afghanistan would be generally good for the region.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.