Washington, Mar 4 (PTI) The United States is seeking to support a diplomatic solution to help Afghans achieve a political settlement and a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire, the Biden administration said on Wednesday.
The State Department said Special US Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad has concluded three days of consultations in Kabul with government officials, civil society and women leaders, and other Afghan political figures.
"With all parties, I outlined our focus on Afghanistan, diplomacy, and garnering wider international support in order to help Afghans make more rapid progress on the peace process,” Khalilzad said in a tweet.
“The Islamic Republic and the Taliban must find a path to a political settlement and a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire. In Kabul, I discussed various options/alternatives to propel the process forward,” Khalilzad said.
This is an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned process, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price told reporters at his daily news conference.
“The United States, of course, is seeking to support a diplomatic solution to help Afghans achieve a political settlement and a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire. To that end, as we announced over the weekend, the special representative and his team are now in the midst of their first travel to the region since January 20,” he said.
Khalilzad and his team, he said, wrapped up on Wednesday three days of productive consultations with government officials in Kabul. “They met with civil society leaders. They met with other Afghan political leaders focused on accelerating progress towards peace,” Price said.
“In all of this, Ambassador Khalilzad emphasized our focus on diplomacy and garnering wider international support to help Afghanistan achieve that political settlement and permanent and comprehensive ceasefire that I mentioned before.
“It is fair to say that they found and over time have found widespread support for the need to move quickly and to deliver that just and durable peace that has been at the centre of our diplomatic efforts and the centre of what Afghans are demanding and in fact what they deserve,” he said.
Ambassador Khalilzad is now in Doha, Price said, adding he will continue engagements in Doha. There may be additional travel from there, he said.
The killing of three female media workers in Jalalabad is a devastating news, he said. “We know that these attacks are meant to do one thing. They are meant to intimidate. They are intended to make reporters cower. The culprits hope to stifle freedom in a nation where the media has in many ways flourished for the past 20 years,” he said.
“This cannot be tolerated. We do not tolerate it. We seek to end the impunity with open and transparent investigations into these vicious murders. We call on the government to defend press freedoms and to protect journalists. The perpetrators must be held accountable and to stop their terrorism against Afghan civilians, including in this case journalists,” Price said. PTI LKJ CK