US should have pushed ex-Afghan president Ghani harder, says Khalilzad – Newspaper

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WASHINGTON: The United States has not put enough pressure on former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to share power with the Taliban, Zalmay Khalilzad, who recently resigned as US envoy to Afghanistan, said in an interview aired on Sunday SCS.

Khalilzad, of Afghan descent, speaking for the first time since announcing his resignation on October 18, also expressed reservations about the Biden administration’s decision to lift the terms of the withdrawal agreement that he had negotiated with the Islamist insurgents under the administration of President Donald. Asset.

The agreement signed on February 29, 2020 between Washington and the Taliban – which excluded Ghani’s government in Kabul – paved the way for the United States to end its longest war.

But it was “a set of conditions” that included negotiations between the insurgents and Kabul, as well as a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire, Khalilzad said.

Once in the White House, however, President Joe Biden decided to “make a withdrawal based on a timetable,” regardless of these conditions, he said. “It was a decision taken well above my level of pay,” he added.

Talks between the insurgents and Kabul had started but were dragging on, and Washington feared the Taliban would resume their attacks on US forces if they stayed in the country any longer – a situation Khalilzad acknowledged, admitting things would not. did not go as he had hoped.

He blamed most of the blame on Ghani, who Khalilzad said never agreed to share power with the Taliban.

“They preferred the status quo to a political settlement,” he said of the government in Kabul.

“And then when it became clear that the United States was leaving, then they – they miscalculated the effects of continuing the war. They weren’t serious about the political settlement.

“It’s my judgment that we did not rush him enough. We have been gentle with President Ghani. We used diplomacy. We encouraged him.

He said that under the original conditional withdrawal agreement, the Taliban would eventually have accepted power-sharing, although his evidence on this is unclear.

Biden had set a departure date of August 31 for the final withdrawal.

Posted in Dawn, October 25, 2021


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