A U.S. peace envoy urged Taliban forces on Tuesday to stop the armed violence and “negotiate a political settlement,” warning insurgents they won’t be recognized internationally after coming to power through force.
A battle still continues between Taliban forces and the Western-backed government for control of several others, including Lashkar Gah in Helmand, and Kandahar in Kandahar Province.
The U.S. State Department announced that Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. envoy, traveled to Qatar on Aug. 8 and will be in the country’s capital to “help formulate a joint international response to the rapidly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan,” noting that negotiation is the “only path to stability and development” in the country.
“In several planned rounds of meetings over three days, representatives from countries in the region and beyond as well as from multilateral organizations will press for a reduction of violence and ceasefire and a commitment not to recognize a government imposed by force,” a Khalilzad spokesperson said in an Aug. 9 statement.
Khalilzad, among others, hopes to persuade Taliban leaders to return to peace talks with the Afghan government as U.S. and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) forces finish their pullout from the country.
The delegation’s message also came as, over the weekend, Taliban insurgents took over the strategically important provincial capital of Kunduz, where U.S. coalition forces were stationed for decades before their withdrawal this year.
Khalilzad’s pressure on the group also follows condemnations from the international community and a similar warning from the United Nations that a Taliban government that takes power by force would not be recognized. The insurgents have so far refused to return to the negotiating table.
The group, which was partially blamed for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, went on the offensive in recent weeks after U.S. forces started withdrawing after nearly 20 years of war and occupation. President Joe Biden said in June that the drawdown of all American forces will end on Aug. 31, although there were unconfirmed reports that American B-52 bombers and gunships struck Taliban targets in Shebergan, Afghanistan, over the past weekend.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul called on all Americans to immediately leave Afghanistan in any way they can, warning that government-sponsored flights out of the country might not be provided in the near future.
“The U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens to leave Afghanistan immediately using available commercial flight options,” the embassy wrote over the weekend. “Given the security conditions and reduced staffing, the Embassy’s ability to assist U.S. citizens in Afghanistan is extremely limited even within Kabul.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
From NTD News