Working with int’l community to strengthen Afghan peace process: Biden Administration

Washington:  The United States is working with the international community, including Pakistan, to strengthen the Afghan peace process aimed at achieving a political settlement and comprehensive cease-fire, the Biden Administration said Monday.

State Department Spokesperson Ned Price made this remark as Special Representative for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, visited Islamabad on Monday and met with Pakistani officials, including the Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

In those discussions, Ambassador Khalilzad thanked Pakistani counterparts for their assistance and asked for Pakistan’s continued commitment to the peace process, Price told reporters at his daily news conference.

He added that Khalilzad’s trip to the region, his first since January 20th, represents a continuation of American diplomacy in the region.

We are working with the international community, including Pakistan, including the actors in Doha, where Ambassador Khalilzad has been, and of course, in Kabul, where he was before that , said Price.

He added that the US with its partners in Kabul, is working to encourage progress on the Afghan peace process, including progress towards a political settlement and comprehensive cease-fire.

This was in many ways the goal of the last administration. This is the goal that we continue to work towards today. This is precisely the set of issues that Ambassador Khalilzad and his team have been discussing, the State Department spokesperson said.

It is true that they are consulting and the department more broadly is consulting closely with allies, with our partners, with countries in the region with how all of us collectively can support that peace process, he said.

Price said it is true that collectively, the collective we, the United States included, were considering a number of different ideas to, again, accelerate that process .

At the same time, Price asserted that this process at its core must be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned.

What Ambassador Khalilzad understands, what his team understands, what this administration understands and requires is the knowledge that it is ultimately the right and responsibility of Afghans to determine their political future, he said.

The United States has a support role to play. The international community needs to support that process, needs to be constructive. And that is precisely why Ambassador Khalilzad has been in the region undertaking this important diplomacy, he added.

At a separate news conference, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said the interagency dialogue on Afghanistan continues within the Biden Administration.

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