The U.S. on Friday expressed disappointment over postponement of the landmark peace conference between the Taliban and an Afghan peace delegation from Kabul.
In a series of tweets, Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S.'s special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, said Washington is in touch with all parties, and encourage all to remain committed to dialogue to end the raging conflict in the war-ravaged country.
“Dialogue is and always will be key to a political roadmap and lasting peace. There is no alternative. I urge all sides to seize the moment and put things back on track by agreeing to a participant list that speaks for all Afghans. I stand ready to help if our help is needed,” Khalilzad said.
Earlier, differences on peace delegates from Afghanistan led to cancellation of the highly anticipated peace conference in Qatar.
In a statement late Thursday, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani’s office said the Qatari government has failed to meet the legitimate demands of the Afghan people by not accepting an inclusive delegation of some 250 men and women, and instead imposing a list of its own.
“After preparations were finalized for the delegation’s trip [to Doha], surprisingly a list came from Qatar last night which lacked proper public representation and was an insult to the national spirit and decision of the people of Afghanistan, and is not acceptable to the Afghans,” the presidency said.
The host of the intra-Afghan peace conference, Sultan Barakat, director of the Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies Doha Institute, has said the postponement was is necessary to further build consensus as to who should participate in the conference.
“All parties are working to resolve differences over the size and make-up of the delegation to visit #Doha. Achieving peace in #Afghanistan after 18 years of war was never going to be easy. We urge all parties to work patiently to ensure these talks take place”, he tweeted.
Over 200 Afghan politicians and civil society representatives were set to meet the Taliban in the Qatari capital, Doha over the weekend for what was set to be a momentous development endorsed by Kabul and Washington.
However, Taliban opposed and mocked the large size of the Afghan peace delegation saying the conference in Doha is not a “wedding party”.
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