Pakistan playing positive role in Afghanistan peace talks, says Afghan envoy

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"I don't want to get into the past, but in the present, there is much evidence that Pakistan is playing a positive role in Afghan peace talks", said Daudzai.

The State Department has announced that Khalilzad would lead an interagency delegation to India, China, Afghanistan, and Pakistan in January to meet senior government officials in each country "to facilitate an intra-Afghan political settlement".

The Taliban have strengthened their grip over Afghanistan in the past three years and according to one U.S. government report, the government in Kabul controls just 56 percent of the country's territory, down from 72 percent in 2015.

The talks, which would have been the fourth round with United States special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, would have involved a U.S. withdrawal, prisoner exchange and the lifting of a ban on movement of Taliban leaders, a Taliban leader had told agencies.

He said the Taliban must endorse the constitution and hold talks within the framework of the Afghan government.

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The press release stressed the US' desire to reach a "political settlement" to the Afghan conflict and "empower the Afghan people to chart a shared course for their nation's future".

Donald Trump's special Afghan envoy Zalmay Khalilzad is travelling to India to coordinate efforts to facilitate an intra-Afghan political settlement, the State Department has announced, a day after the U.S. president discussed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi ways to enhance cooperation in war-torn Afghanistan. "We have the feeling that Zalmay Khalilzad doesn't have enough power to make important decisions", a second Taliban official said. "We haven't seen any change in the Taliban so far and that country that supports them, has not unfortunately changed its policies toward us either", said Abdullah, referring to Pakistan which Kabul accuses of harbouring Taliban leaders.

Another Taliban source told Reuters the disagreement focused on Washington's insistence that Afghan government officials must be involved in the talks.

The news outlet acknowledged that the USA government has yet to comment on the meeting's cancellation. "But if that leadership of the Afghan state is not recognized and is not given value, then we may face a serious challenge", he added.

"The United States supports the desire of the Afghan people and the global community for a political settlement that ends the 40-year conflict and ensures Afghanistan never again serves as a platform for worldwide terrorism", the State Department said.

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"No government, no institution and no personality, except the Afghan government has the authority to decide on issues such as peace and other major national issues of Afghanistan", said Mohammad Hedayat, media advisor to Danish. It has maintained that any peace process and negotiation on Afghanistan has to be an Afghan-led process.

The Taliban have rejected requests from regional powers to allow Afghan officials to take part in the talks, insisting that the United States is their main adversary in the 17-year war.

The war in Afghanistan is America's longest overseas military intervention. Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) took part in the last round of talks in December. It has cost Washington almost a trillion dollars and killed tens of thousands of people.

The insurgents, seeking to reimpose strict Islamic law after their 2001 ouster by US -led troops, called off a meeting with USA officials in Saudi Arabia this week because of Riyadh's insistence involving the Afghan government.

The war was waged by an worldwide coalition led by the United States in the wake of the September 11 terror attacks.

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