US Pushes Afghanistan to Make Side Deal With Pakistan

Khalilzad credits 'helpful' Pakistan in diplomacy

US negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad spoke at a forum on Wednesday, calling on the Afghan government to attempt to make a side deal with Pakistan on the Taliban war, saying he believes such a deal would be important to an internal peace in Afghanistan.

The Afghan government has long had a big problem with the Pakistani government, and the US regularly blamed Pakistan for times that the Afghan War went poorly, which was most of the past 19 years.

Khalilzad, however, credited the Pakistani government and military leadership, saying they’d been “helpful” in recent Afghan diplomacy. Indeed so, as Pakistan has facilitated Taliban negotiators time and again, including lead negotiator Mullah Baradar, who was held at US behest by Pakistani forces, and released to participate in talks.

Khalilzad suggested the two countries would agree not to allow their territory to be used to target the other by extremist groups, and said the two nations should have discussions on future economic cooperation in “electricity-rich” Central Asia.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.