US top envoy Zalmay Khalilzad makes new claims over Afghan peace talks
*US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation said in order for the United States, the Afghan government and the Taliban to get to this point some very difficult, even heart-wrenching decisions had to be made. *
He said in an interview with Al-Jazeera that not only did the United States have to make difficult decisions but so did Afghanistan.
This was in reference to concerns raised over whether the US government has given the Taliban “too much weight” in the intra-Afghan negotiation process – especially in light of the release of 5,000 prisoners.
Recently foreign countries, specifically France and Australia objected to the release of some hardcore prisoners who had been responsible for killing their nationals over the past few years.
But Khalilzad said the US itself had not been too happy about this but that “we [the US] appreciate their expression of unhappiness and empathize with them but we think the goal of making Afghanistan to be more peaceful, for Afghans to come together to end the war, for Afghanistan not to be a threat to the international community and for the burden of Afghanistan to be reduced on the international community,” sacrifices needed to be made.
“Nothing important is easy to achieve, unfortunately. We had to do those tough things, difficult things, heart-wrenching things to get where we are.”
He also said the US was satisfied that the objectives ahead were worth the sacrifices that have been made.
During the interview, he said not only are the current peace talks a historic moment and an opportunity for peace but also a moment of hope and he continually emphasized the fact that Afghans are tired of war – a war that has been ongoing for 40 years. Source: Ariana News link