US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad on Monday afternoon called on the Taliban to come up with an authorized team of negotiators for peace talks.
He also called on the Afghan government to form its own team of inclusive and authorized representatives for the peace process.
Khalilzad made the call during a meeting in Kabul, which was attended by a select group of Afghan journalists.
The special envoy is in Kabul as part of his 10-day visit to Kabul, Islamabad, Doha, United Arab Emirates and Riyadh.
The ambassador has not revealed many details of his schedule or agenda but did say on Sunday, shortly after arriving in Afghanistan, that he was here to break the stalemate around the war and help broker peace.
Addressing the meeting on Monday, Khalilzad said he was leading an inclusive team from the US government, involving members of the State department, Pentagon, the White House and other security agencies.
Despite this, he emphasized that the process was “ultimately an issue between the Afghans.”
“We can facilitate and be present in any format for peace talks,” he said adding that “it’s not easy, but there is a window of opportunity (for peace).”
He said it was time to end the war as there has been “enough bloodshed in this country.”
Khalizad pointed out that the result of peace should see more unity in the country but said: “War is difficult, but peace is not easy as well.”
Late last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo officially announced the appointment of Khalilzad as Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation.
Pompeo said in a memo to staff that Khalilzad would lead US efforts to support, facilitate, and participate in a peace process between government and the Taliban.
“There is no one better suited for this duty than an expert diplomat like ambassador Khalilzad, who was born and raised in Afghanistan, and has previously served as the US ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq, and the United Nations,” Pompeo said in the memo.
Pompeo also said he was confident in Khalilzad’s ability to execute the mission.
“I am confident in Ambassador Khalilzad’s ability to execute this mission, and we are grateful for his willingness to step back into public service. As we welcome him back to the Department, let us rededicate ourselves to achieving a durable peace in Afghanistan that will ensure security for the American people. This goal is realistic. We have a team in place to accomplish it. Let’s get the job done,” said Pompeo.