Khalilzad meets Afghan President in Kabul, discusses next step in peace process

Kabul [Afghanistan], May 21 (ANI): US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and discussed the next steps in the peace process, according to a statement from the Presidential Palace on Wednesday.

Tolo News reported citing the Presidential Palace that Ghani met with Khalilzad and both sides insisted on a ceasefire or a reduction in violence ahead of the intra-Afghan negotiations.

"Both sides discussed the next steps in the peace process and stressed the need for a ceasefire or reduction of violence before face-to-face talks [with the Taliban]," the statement read, according to Sputnik.

US Special Envoy arrived in Kabul earlier in the day after meeting with representatives of the Taliban in the Doha, Qatar.

US State Department had in a statement on May 18, said: "Throughout his trip, Ambassador Khalilzad will continue to reinforce the U.S. view that the best path to end the conflict is for all parties to sit together and negotiate an agreement on the political future of Afghanistan."

On February 29, the US signed a peace deal with the Taliban in Doha after months of negotiations, aimed at ending the 18-year long war in Afghanistan.

Violent clashes in Afghanistan have continued despite the signing of a peace deal between the Taliban and the US. The agreement was set to pave the way for the withdrawal of US and NATO troops from the country within 14 months and the beginning of intra-Afghan talks.

As per a Tolo News report which cited resident in the area, the death toll has risen to 11 from an attack on a mosque in the northern province of Parwan. More than a dozen were also wounded in the attack that took place on Tuesday night.

On May 18, six Taliban terrorists were killed in a clash with security forces in the eastern Paktia province, Afghanistan Army had said in a statement. (ANI)