KABUL (SW) - The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo has commended the participants of the Loya Jirga to be convened on August 7 to consolidate national support for peace in Afghanistan.
"We understand that they will decide on the expeditious release of the remaining Taliban prisoners from their list, the last obstacle to the start of intra-Afghan negotiations. Following the timely release of these prisoners, the Taliban have committed to enter talks with the national team representing the strength and diversity of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan", saida statementby his office.
It added the Taliban have also committed to significantly reduce violence and casualties during the talks where the parties will decide on a political roadmap to end the long and brutal war and agree on a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.
"We acknowledge that the release of these prisoners is unpopular. But this difficult action will lead to an important result long sought by Afghans and Afghanistan’s friends: reduction of violence and direct talks resulting in a peace agreement and an end to the war. After 40 years of war and bloodshed and destruction, the parties are ready to embark on a political process to reach a negotiated settlement", it said.
The United States urged President Mohammed Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah, the Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, and other Afghan leaders, including participants of the Loya Jirga, to take advantage of this historic opportunity for a peace that benefits all Afghans and contributes to regional stability and global security.
It further said terrorist threats emanating from Afghanistan should never again pose a threat to the United States and our allies. We are prepared to maintain substantial security assistance to our Afghan security partners to achieve that objective.
"While the future of Afghanistan is for Afghans to decide, we strongly support the preservation and advancement of the social, economic, and political gains made since 2001. These gains include Afghanistan’s democratic development and the protection and expansion of the human rights of all Afghans, including women, children, and minorities", said the State Department.
Separately, in a series of tweets, the top US peace broker, Zalmay Khalilzad dubbed the traditional 'Loya Jirga' - the highest level of consultation of Afghan elders over a very serious issue of national concern -- as an 'historic opportunity' to remove the last hurdle to direct peace talks. "A positive outcome will mean a reduction in violence and Afghans immediately coming together at the negotiating table", the US special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation said.
"We wish the Jirga participants success in their discussions and urge them not to allow those who prefer the status quo and seek to complicate the path to peace to manipulate the process", he tweeted.