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Only Afghan led peace process can bring peace to Afghanistan: US

07 January 2017

Pakistan, China and Russia held three-way Afghan peace talks in Moscow last week and though Afghanistan was absent, the US hoped the meeting would lead to peace.

At a news briefing in Washington on Tuesday afternoon, state department spokesman John Kirby said the US recognised Afghanistan's right to hold all negotiations with other nations on issues that concerned the country and its people.

He said the US could continue to support the Afghan government but Washington still believed only an Afghan-led peace process could bring peace to the country.

''What we welcome is any international effort to help Afghanistan become secure and more prosperous. And we continue to support, as we always have, an Afghan-led reconciliation process,'' Kirby said when asked if the three-way talks had the support of the US.

''We still believe that's the right way to go here, going forward. That hasn't changed. And our support for President [Ashraf] Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah [Abdullah] remains steadfast, '' The Kashmir Monitor reported citing Agencies.

Kirby further noted that as a nation-state Afghanistan ''has every right and every responsibility, quite frankly, for the betterment of their own people to have, whether it's multilateral or bilateral, discussions with neighbouring nations and nations that aren't neighbouring''.

Meanwhile, Pakistan believed the Obama administration played the role of a 'major spoiler' in the Afghan peace process, according to a senior Pakistani official who was part of the discussions with US officials, The Express Tribune reported.

The official, who spoke to The Express Tribune and did not wish to be identified, was speaking about the failure of efforts to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table under the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) of Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and the US.

''There was no clarity among the Obama administration about peace talks in Afghanistan. It played the role of a major spoiler in Afghanistan,'' he said. When asked about the failure of the QCG, he said ''there were differences in thought because China and Pakistan were on one side and Afghanistan and the US on another.''

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